CHELAN - At their regular meeting on Feb. 28, the Chelan City Council approved a study to analyze the financial feasibility and impact of having an open air ice rink at Don Morse Park.
Before council started business they first honored City Clerk, Peri Gallucci by proclaiming Feb. 28, to be World Spay Day in the City of Chelan, and calling on people to observe the day by having their pets spayed or neutered.
“Peri spends quite a bit of time being an advocate for spay and neutering,” Mayor Mike Cooney said as he wrapped his arm around Galluci’s shoulder. “She makes trips to Olympia and visits with the legislators to change the law and she does great work.”
• Ice Rink
“We talked about an ice rink and the concept has been tossed around for many years,” councilwoman Erin McCardle began. “I have been working for a little bit in the community looking at different sites and looking at downtown Chelan. We have been looking at surrounding communities in Wenatchee and Winthrop, and the demand is there.”
So McCardle proposed investing $25,000 to do some market research on the project to assess the demand, financial feasibility and economic, fiscal and employment of a new year-round pavilion and ice rink.
“This project would answer a lot of questions, specifically looking at if the city can afford a facility and operations? What are the feasibility of running an ice rink in the winter and pavilion in the summer? Is it someone that we can run or lease out to other concessionaires?” McCardle explained. “It would look at how long we should run, how much staff and we’re working with the Town Toyota Center to get their data and understand what impact it could have in the community.”
Unpersuaded, councilman Skip Morehouse asked how many people in Pateros, Manson and Entiat are currently skating somewhere? “Or you must have some feeling for that?” Morehouse asked.
“I think we would be getting that data from the Town Toyota Center,” McCardle answered. “They have research on where they attract people from. The Winthrop skating rink also has five to six hockey tournaments a season, and initially when we looked at operational numbers, if you can get two or three tournaments, you can almost cover your operational expenses.”
Morehouse replied by stating that he was concerned because of the big process the city went through with the Aquatic Center, however McCardle - who was apart of that project - said they never did the financial analysis.
“I’m not against doing this,” Morehouse said. “I think we should just refine our focus on what we’re doing. I thought you might have some idea how many people from Chelan or Manson that play hockey. Do we have 25 people in Chelan that play hockey?”
“It is more than a hockey rink though, it is public skate also. This facility in my mind is for the locals first, this is something for the youth community that have limited outdoor recreation,” McCardle responded. “We have a beautiful park that gets used from May till October, and then that park is rarely used. This is an opportunity to take that park and create a year round facility that are local community can use year round.”
For reference, the rink would have ice from an underground refrigeration system, so it would hold a reliable sheet of ice throughout the winter months. In the summer you just turn the refrigerator off and you have a big piece of concrete.
The council approved the motion 4-1, - with Morehouse the lone nay and McCardle recusing herself from the vote - to direct Hunden Strategic Partners (HSP) to conduct the study for $25,000 4-1.
The next Chelan City Council meeting is on March 14, at 6 p.m.
Zach Johnson can be reached at email@example.com or (509) 682-2213
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