City Council voted Tuesday night to dig into its contingency fund for $32,000 to keep the Ice Pavilion at Roosevelt Park open into mid-March.
The rink was slated to close next week because COVID-19 restrictions have cut the number of skaters allowed at the facility. The city did not have enough budgeted revenue to keep the Ice Pavilion operating for the next two months, city staff said.
Several residents — including parents of junior hockey players — recently lobbied council to keep the ice rink running through the winter.
“It’s about the only healthy outside activity that we have these days,” resident and youth hockey parent Gary Mess said during a visit to the rink on Sunday.
Council voted 6-1 to take $32,000 from its $155,701 contingency fund to pay for extending the Ice Pavilion season. Mayor Brian Bagley voted against the move, saying there were higher funding priorities than the rink.
The Ice Pavilion hosts open skating, skating lessons, figure skating and non-contact hockey, according to a city staff report. The season normally runs from mid-November to mid-Mach.
City staff — eyeing a $1.1 million reduction in the recreation budget — proposed a shortened season at the Ice Pavilion, opening the facility from Nov. 20 through Jan. 31, according to the staff report.
State health restrictions allow only 25 users on the rink at one time, the staff report states. For the first six weeks of operation, attendance at the Ice Pavilion was 6,953, compared to 11,453 during the same time last year, the report states.
That led to $26,495 in revenue during the first six weeks of operation compared to $98,368 for the same period last year, according to the report.
City staff said Ice Pavilion users asked for the time extension because the rink promotes health and that participants and staff “have done a great job of following COVID safety protocols,” the report states.