Should St. Charles Bring Back An Ice Skating Rink?
The city offered an ice skating rink in Frontier Park for two years and one Parks Board member wants to see it return.
For two years, visitors to downtown St. Charles could take a spin on an ice skating rink in Frontier Park run by the city during the winter months.
The city shut down the rink after the 2010 season due to cost concerns, but some members of the community are hoping to see it return.
TJ Slattery, a member of the St. Charles Parks and Recreation Board, is campaigning for a joint effort between the Tourism Department, City Council and the Parks and Recreation Department to bring back the ice rink for the 2013-14 winter season.
"I have had a lot of calls this year saying, 'Hey, where is the ice skating rink?'" he said. "I think it's a good amenity. You don't want to overdo it, at the end of the day you want to offer things that are cool like that."
Slattery informally shared his idea with members of the Parks and Recreation board during its meeting Wednesday. He plans to gauge support from members of St. Charles City Council and the Department of Tourism.
"It's not a thing to make money," he said. "The goal would be to break even, but not to look at it as a revenue generator, more of a community enhancement."
The city first installed an ice skating rink in Frontier Park in 2009. That season, the rink lost money as costs for installation and staffing ran at more than $240,000 and the rink brought in just $84,813.
The city council opted not to bring back the skating rink in 2011 because of the costs. In addition, the Parks Department had to put in time to repair damage to the turf at Frontier Park following the 2010 ice skating season very quickly—the first big event in the park takes place in April.
"All of these things are real workable to get through," Slattery said.
He hopes the city council can use discretionary money and partner with both the departments of tourism and parks and recreation to fund the rink.
Slattery said getting nonprofit groups to staff it may help cut down on costs, and providing programming, such as ice skating lessons, could generate revenue.
"Anything that could bring people down there and get folks to use it," he said.