The Town of Mammoth’s ice rink will operate in the 2009/10 season, with expectations of opening Dec. 4. The Tourism and Recreation Commission, however, put their foot down when it came to future operations. The Commission believed that the Town needed to get serious about putting the roof on the ice rink so that it could be operated year-round as had been the original intent.
The rink, which is 15 years old, according to Commissioner Dieter Fiebiger, is suffering from being packed and unpacked for storage every year. More money has to be put into fixing leaks and making other repairs time and time again. The idea was to put a roof on the rink and leave it up year-round not only to make it more financially feasible but also to help slow the rink’s aging process.
“We thought we had enough money to complete it, but then the recession happened and the flow of money was cut off,” explained Town Manager Rob Clark.
The Town does, however, have a $500,000 grant to use for the project. According to Clark, the deadlines were extended to 2012 on this grant in order to get the project done. The problem is the Town has to come up with an additional $700,000 to complete the project, roof and all.
On top of the financial burden, according to the Town’s lease with the School District the roof was suppose to be on the rink at this point and time.
“We are out of compliance with the School District lease and we will be asking them for an extension,” stated Tourism and Recreation Director Danna Stroud.
Stroud had already made one appearance before the School Board on this matter and stated she had been received positively and that the School Board was willing to consider the extension.
In an effort to save some money, local volunteers will help maintain the rink this season. Council member Skip Harvey also began to try and look at the big picture of the Town’s financial situation in relation to the needs of the rink. Later in the evening the Council discussed a grant application for installing sidewalks on Main Street from Sierra Boulevard to Mountain Boulevard. While the grant was a 10-1 match, according to Clark, Harvey felt that the $100,000 the Town would have to find as their match should be earmarked toward the $700,000 needed for the ice rink if the money was found.
“We don’t have $100,000, and if we do it should go to the ice rink,” Harvey said.
Mayor Neil McCarroll also felt that sidewalks should not be put in where they would just have to be ripped out again once the Main Street redevelopment project gets underway.
Mayor Pro Tem John Eastman, however, felt that the Council was dreaming if they believed the Main Street development was going to get underway any time soon. Both Eastman and Sugimura placed their priorities on a walkable community versus a roof on the ice rink, and supported applying for the sidewalk grant. However, the Council majority voted against applying for the sidewalk grant and it was denied.