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Ice Skating Rink Coming to Old Town Elk Grove

Elk Grove City Council members expressed concern about the costs for the seasonal attraction.

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Elk Grove residents will have a new local winter attraction this year: ice skating.

The Elk Grove City Council voted Wednesday to purchase, fence and clear a four-and-a-half-acre property in Old Town Elk Grove for $1 million and hire a contractor to open an ice skating rink on it. The rink is scheduled to open Nov. 17 and run until Jan. 21, and will be located just south of Elk Grove Boulevard and east of the railroad tracks.

"I think it's going to be widely successful," Mayor Jim Cooper said.

The four council members present at the meeting agreed that an ice rink would be a good attraction for Old Town Elk Grove, but took issue with the .

"The deal's not a good deal," said Council Member Steve Detrick, who was the sole council member to vote against the property purchase and the ice rink contract. "It's totally stacked for the operator."

The council took a brief break during Wednesday's meeting while city staff renegotiated the contract with Ice Unlimited. The city will pay $80,000 for setup costs, Ice Unlimited will receive the first $50,000 of ticket revenue, and the city and Ice Unlimited will split all remaining ticket revenue 35/65 (with 35 percent going to the city and 65 percent going to the vendor). Tickets will be $11 for adults and $9.50 for children.

The city will be able to sell advertisements along the ice rink and will withhold $5,000 from Ice Unlimited until the site is clean. The city will foot the bill for utilities, preparing the site, operating a shuttle service, and providing police officers for traffic control as needed.

Rob Porter, the owner of Ice Unlimited, said he's never had an ice rink attract fewer than 22,000 people. He said the city will "most likely break even" but likely won't earn a profit.

Vice Mayor Pat Hume said he was mostly unhappy with the deal, but said this winter could be a trial run for future years.

Cooper expressed concern about the limited parking–there will be 100 spots on site and two nearby lots offer parking–and the costs the city will be covering. Out of the $1 million property deal, more than $800,0000 will go toward purchasing the land from Union Pacific Railroad, about $61,000 will be used for due diligence, buying out and removing a billboard will cost about $22,000, and installing a fence around the property will cost $13,000.

Still, even those who were critical of the deal were enthusiastic about the idea of having an ice skating rink in Elk Grove. Old Town merchants thanked Porter as they left the meeting, and Police Chief Robert Lehner jokingly volunteered to drive the Zamboni.

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Chris Cassinelli October 25, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Dont we have better things to do with our money? Can send anyone out from animal control because of cuts on issues(example) that are very bothersome to so many but we can bring in a Ice Rick! Come on Elk Grove....use my money wisely! Dont waste it
Chris Cassinelli October 25, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Typo...Cant send....
gerald October 25, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Way to expensive to take a family of 5 skating. I'll pass unless the price comes down. Will continue going to downtown Sacramento, it's a lot cheaper.
David Wol October 25, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Votes like this are a de facto reason for replacing the current members of the Elk Grove City Council. Does the city have a million bucks to throw away? Even the company pushing this project, Ice Unlimited, stated it is unlikely the city will make a profit. That's the reason they suckered Elk Grove into putting up the money. Was Steve Detrick the only one voting against this folly? You can't tell from the poorly written article.
Marty October 25, 2012 at 04:44 PM
This certainly seemed to be a project without "due diligence" by the staff & city council. We all know that most railway property is contaminated and placing a playground for mostly children on it seems to be risky at the very least. I didn't hear any mention of this during this meeting, but hopefully that has been considered when digging or moving any dirt around for the facility or parking lot. Will the area be fenced so children can't wonder off onto other parts of the railway property? Hugh liability! Many other problems that didn't seem to be addressed in full, such as the hugh traffic impact this could have. lst Saturdays needed street closed, but not this. Why? Too hastily put together and with only 3 weeks to complete...hopefully weather cooperates. Maybe someone can clear up those concerns.
Cody Kitaura (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Hi David, Thanks for the feedback. Steve Detrick was the only "no" vote during the meeting.
Jacqueline Cheung October 25, 2012 at 05:11 PM
City Council, please please please take the time to write a solid business plan before undertaking this. It can really make a difference in how much revenue is generated. A solid financial plan and marketing plan that is a part of a strategic business plan with detailed products and services will help build a good foundation.
Jacqueline Cheung October 25, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Don't get me wrong, I think its cool that there will be a skating rink in Elk Grove. But as a business person, I also think a little planning can really set the tone for the success of a business.
Sarah Johnson October 25, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Please differentiate between the land purchase and the ice rink----TWO ENTIRELY SEPARATE ISSUES. Getting that land back from UP is something that has been worked on for years. The temporary ice rink is a last minute idea that may or may not be successful, but it has nothing to do with the land purchase.
Cody Kitaura (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Good point, Sarah. As you point out, the ice rink is a temporary use while the city decides what to do with the UP property. What would you like to see go there?
joe October 25, 2012 at 05:35 PM
if you factor in gasoline and convenience and the support you are giving the local businesses .. I think Elk Grove rink will be your best bet
Tom Waltman October 25, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Having worked the numbers from both the original and the revised contract, the city will lose between $150,000 and $200,000 unless a local business rides to the rescue and agrees to sponsor the rink and offset the lose. I support the idea of the rink, and I certainly support Old Town, but this is simply a bad deal with very little chance for success. There has been no advertising campaign for the amenity that will open in 3 weeks. There has been no chance for the Old Town businesses to come up with a plan for capitalising on the increased traffic that the amenity will bring to the area. There is NO parking or traffic plan to date, just ideas on what might be done. This is really poor planning, and using this as a test for future choices on having an ice rink in the area should be done with extreme caution. I am very surprised city staff carried the water on this one. They have been working hard to improve their image to businesses and citizens, and they risk looking very foolish if this doesn't go well. One of the City Councilmembers should have sponsored this item.
Sarah Johnson October 25, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Cody, The original vision we had in 1998 when we created the Old Town Elk Grove Conceptual Master Plan was a central plaza/gathering space which could be used for festivals and other events, possibly a farmer's market, etc. A recreation of the original depot for use as a small museum, and some of the land south of Grove Street for a parking garage.
Albert Dutra October 25, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Why not invest some of this money in the mall that we have just sitting out here. Maybe use one of the structures for a covered ice rink.... Plenty of parking, no railroad tracks to worry about, no worry about traffic congestion, and no disrupting of the neighborhoods around that area. Just my two cents.....
Cody Kitaura (Editor) October 27, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Hi everyone, here's an update to this story: http://patch.com/A-yZH6
ann October 30, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Why couldn't they have just placed the rink in Elk Grove Park or something?
amy November 06, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Are you aware if they are going to let vendors set up around the ice rink? To sell coffee, hot coco?
Dinelia Smith November 06, 2012 at 03:30 AM
will they be hiring for the season? if so where can i apply?

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