Ice rink project goes to council |

Ice rink project goes to council

A key component to the Measure S package has been completed: The business plan for a proposed ice rink that will include recreation rooms, rental and pro shops and an arcade.

Consultant Scott Slavensky is expected to make a presentation of his plan to City Council at council chambers, 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The council meets 2 p.m. today.

The $3.8 million, 38,000-square-foot ice rink should be profitable, according to Slavensky, provided the $300,000-a-year debt service is eliminated, which would be the case if Measure S passes on Sept. 19 election. The business plan suggests that the ice rink will net $112,200 annually.

“I am not surprised that it would at least break even or make a profit,” said City Manager David Childs, who has had experience with ice rinks in other communities.

However, Councilman Bill Crawford calls the figures “blue sky stuff.”

“(The business plan) looks like an eighth-grader’s project that is padded to impress the teacher on the sheer bulk of it,” Crawford said.

The project, although a part of the South Lake Tahoe Park and Recreation Department, will be run separately from the other programs, said Steve Weiss, Park and Recreation superintendent.

“It is a business,” Weiss said. “It is something that has to make money to continue.”

The ice rink maintenance could be costly. In fact, the plan states the electricity alone could be as much as $55,000 a year.

Slavensky, who operates Skatetown in Roseville, Calif., has had experience with ice rinks and is known for his strengths in energy efficiency – Skatetown won an award for efficient building in a national competition sponsored by Energy Users News.

“One of the things that struck me was the credibility of the consultant,” said John Upton, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce member.

According to the plan, skating fees would gross $175,050 and rentals at $2.50 a pair would gross $65,644.

The plan offers a variety of activities, which include youth and adult hockey leagues, open skating, coffee club for seniors and figure skating.

Costs for open skating vary between $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and children under age 6 . Youth hockey leagues would cost $150 per season and adult leagues $180.

None of these figures are set in stone, Weiss said. There is room for discussion and modification.

The city has set aside $50,000 for architectural plans and for the business plan. The city will spend a total of $40,000, once plans are completed and an additional $7,000 was spent on the business plan.

But the ice rink is only one part of the Measure S package that would provide for playing fields, improvements to Tahoe Paradise Resort Improvement District, and supplying maintenance money for bicycle trials – making South Shore eligible for grants that could eventually provide for a unified bicycle path infrastructure.

The ice rink would be at 1176 Rufus Allen Blvd., the same location as the previous rink that opened for six weeks in December of 1996, but had to be shut down because of floods in January 1997.

In a special election, Sept. 19, voters will decide if they are willing to pay an additional and unchangeable flat fee on their property tax for the next 30 years to fund the $6.5 million bond.

If Measure S passes, home owners would pay an additional $18 on their property tax – $9 for low-income home owners and businesses would pay on a variable sliding scale, which would be determined by the size and type of business.

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