Ice rink dream continues
Woes from a failed attempt to operate an ice skating rink in South Lake Tahoe three years ago are still resonating but city officials say that won’t stop them from trying to build a new facility next year.
On Nov. 2, the City Council agreed to pay a $12,000 settlement in a lawsuit filed by V & C Construction for improvements made in 1997 to city property on Rufus Allen Boulevard for the now defunct ice skating rink. The rink, which was operated under lease by the privately owned South Tahoe Ice Center, opened for business in December 1997 and closed six weeks later due to adverse weather conditions and financial troubles.
V & C originally sought about $280,000 – the cost of improvements plus interest – from the city and owners of STIC.
Catherine DiCamillo, the city’s attorney, said the $12,000 settlement pays for tangible improvements, such as pavement upgrades and utility boxes, made to the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Complex parking lot and ice rink site.
Attorney Charles Zumpft, who is representing the Douglas County construction company, said the settlement, which is still in revision, will release the city from the suit. The charges brought against STIC for the remainder of the money, however, will still be pending.
Despite complications surrounding STIC’s ice rink, the city hired an architect to design a new facility in the same footprint of the failed ice rink, said City Parks Superintendent Steve Weiss.
“Once we have the plans, the cost will be more apparent,” he said. “Right now we’re looking at about $2.5 to $4 million – depending on what we want to put in it.”
Unlike the previous rink, which was open to the weather, the new facility would be fully enclosed and would likely include locker rooms, a meeting room, a pro shop, rental shop and a concession stand. It would also be operated by the city instead of a private company.
“It will be a city supported business but we may contract out some of the services,” he said. “How it is operated is still under discussion.”
Councilman Hal Cole said support from the community for an ice rink has been strong.
“(The community) has to see something because there has been a lot of talk and no action,” he said. “The Rec Center has proven itself and has been used for a myriad of activities. The addition of an ice skating rink would really add to that especially since it could be renovated for different uses such as indoor soccer and performing arts.”
Weiss said the city has hopes to break ground on the project on May 1 and to be open for local hockey leagues in November 2000.
“The biggest hang up is how to pay for this,” he said.
Weiss said the improvements paid for in the settlement could not be used for the new facility.
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