Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Longmont Ice Pavillion is back!

The Longmont Ice Pavillion is back for the 2007-2008 year!

Target opening day is December 22

Notes from the Longmont City Council Meeting tonight, on the subject of looking for ways to keep the ice rink open after it was decided two months ago that it would not open this year.

  • Jeff from the city: $46K needed to keep the rink running.
  • The estimate from the city for the construction of an all-year indoor ice rink at the Longmont Quail campus: $14 million.
  • Councilwoman B lue: We should be charging more; a Lakewood ice center is charging $6 per visit.
  • Councilwomen Benker: A community event could be organized to raise the funds to buy a Zamboni for next year.
  • Councilman Hansen: We really need to understand how long we intend to keep the Roosevelt Pavillion vs. the all-year rink. 2 years? 5 years? Long range intentions are important in guiding this decision.
  • Councilwoman Blue: We have to make some sacrifices, and the ice rink has to be one of them. My kids enjoyed skating when they were growing up in Michigan, but it's easier to keep things frozen up there.
  • Councilwoman Benker: If we do decide to open this year, we should make Christmas Eve free, to attract community interest.
  • Councilman Hansen, in response to one of the points raised earlier in the evening from a citizen, stating that an ice rink is not a wise operation, given the energy costs and global warming trends. Councilman's point was that people are going to drive elsewhere, to Louisville and Lafayette, if there is no rink in Longmont, which which also impacts the environment. Disclaimer: the citizen voicing this opinion lives right behind the rink on 8th Avenue.
  • Councilwoman Levison: City foundation could set up a fund to permit contributions, matching funds, etc.
  • Councilman Hansen: Is there any liability in allowing citizens to work voluntarily on the Zamboni? City response: that has already happened in the past and is not an issue.
  • Mayor Lange: Nobody was against the ice rink when the initial decision was made. Budget was the driving force behind the ice rink decision two months ago.
  • Mayor Lange: Two months ago we told the public that we had no funds. Public perception could be negatively altered if we suddenly announce that we found some money to keep the rink going.
  • Councilwoman Levison made the motion to use the City Council's $19,000 contingency fund to go toward the opening of the ice rink.
  • Councilwoman Blue: nervous about throwing all of contingency fund to this effort, on quick notice, and in the community being able to raise $27K, also in short notice.
  • Councilwoman Benker: The contingency fund runs out in a month; not much risk in using it up at this time, given that there are few council meetings left in this calendar year to allocate it. There are also other creative ways to get funds, within the budget.
  • Jeff from the City: fund raising should be targeted to 2008-2009. Not much time left to make this happen by December 22.
  • City Manager Pedrow: Give us the $19K, we'll get the rink going and we'll come back with options for the rest of the operating funds needed. "We will make this work". Serious concern: we're using a one-time fund to sustain an ongoing operation. No source of revenue going forward.
  • Mayor Lange: easy to make a decision on a one-time deal vs. a long term commitment. This was the dilemma faced by the previous council.
  • Councilman McCoy: Longmont community is special and they will support the rink. Had they been given notice back in June/July, community efforts could have been started earlier.
  • Mayor Lange: Reluctantly changing vote; initially thought the equipment was in much worse shape.

Vote:      YES:  Benker, McCoy, Lange, Hansen, Levison
                NO:   Blue:

A big thank you to councilwoman Levison for driving the issue and to the other council members who voted in favor of keeping this community resource. Also, congratulations to the community for the grass-roots support and volunteer efforts.

[Edit:  November 10, 2015:  Convert to a supported font]


getinlost said...

Unfortunately, it likely will come at a cost to other facilities. The councils decision to impose a hiring freeze to fund the rink puts many established programs at risk, and the money spent to open and maintain the rink will probably not be recouped by attendance.

In a Van Down By the St. Vrain River said...

Although they may seem to be linked because they were discussed the same evening, the ice rink decision was independent of the hiring freeze. The HF was voted in, in response to the City's decision to layoff some workers a few months ago. In particular, Councilwoman Benker is against RIFs in general, based on her State of Colorado experience, when she always did hiring freezes when budget problems appeared, not layoffs.

If I could summarize the ice rink approach I believe being taken: given that the city did not give the citizens enough time to react to the rink closing so that some community efforts could have been started to raise the needed cash to maintain and run the equipment, allocate $19K to kickstart the rink this year, and let's see how the community/private-enterprise sponsoring/foundation ideas take hold.

Do you know if the Longmont Rec Center recoups it's capital and operating expense costs? I was wondering about that.

getinlost said...

The short answer is no. None of the city's recreation divisions are completely self sufficient. The Memorial Bldg. which is responsible for putting on and maintaining the rink is already short staffed and now cannot hire the personnel they needed even before the council decided to put more work on them. As for the Rec. Center it hasn't made money since it first opened and Centennial has to bring private business in to get their revenue up. All of Rec Services receive monies from city sales tax revenue therefore, if the city is doing well in that area Rec Services will also.

Anonymous said...

I skated at the rink last week and was impressed by the quality of the facility. Everything appeared well maintained and the employees were very pleasant to deal with. The ice rink is a community asset that benefits residents and local businesses. Perhaps all of the benefits aren’t direct; meaning revenue to the rink, but there’s no doubt that keeping people close to Town, as opposed to driving to other rinks, benefits the local economy and fosters a sense of community.