City Pitchs 5-year rink contract
The town enlisted a Bridgeport-based management company with three decades of ice rink experience to help turn the renovated Ralph Walker rink into an âice wonderlandâ from October.
Details of this planned new public-private partnership are included in a communication submitted to the council of aldermen on Monday by the city’s deputy general manager, Becky Bombero.
The aldermanic’s bid describes a proposed five-year contract between the city and a company called The Wonderland of Ice Associates.
The proposed five-year contract now passes to a committee of aldermanes for a public hearing before being taken up by the full council of aldermen this fall for deliberation and final vote.
Click here, here, here and here to read these documents.
The city initially closed the East Rock Ice Rink in 2016 due to its dilapidation. After petting the idea of ââclosing the site for good, then-mayor Toni Harp launched a two-phase renovation of the rink.
The first phase included an enlarged roof and length of ice, new views of East Rock Park, new instrument panels, a new, more efficient compressor system, and updated plumbing to service the existing bathrooms. The second phase included new changing rooms and a new concession building.
Now, under the proposed deal, Wonderland of Ice, as Skate New Haven, would operate and maintain the Upper State Street public ice rink and adjacent Blake Field complex concession area from October.
The company would pay the city $ 5,000 per month, plus 10% of net operating income over $ 100,000 per year. The company would also pay the city 10% of the revenue generated by the concessions.
In return, the company would offer a range of ice-related programs, from skating lessons and hockey lessons to hosting hockey tournaments and birthday parties.
They would also sell coffee and bagels, popcorn, nachos and other foods and drinks from the âSnack New Havenâ concession.
And they would follow the rink fee schedule as outlined in the city budget.
In a cover letter for the aldermanic’s submission, Bombero wrote that the city hopes to have Wonderland of Ice in place as the new operator of the public rink by the start of the next skating season, in October. .
âFor your information, Wonderland of Ice has over 30 years of experience in the industry, [and] manages both the Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport and the Norwich Ice Arena, âBombero wrote. âThe company and its management team have a proven track record of the industry and community rink operations. Pursuant to the terms of this agreement, Wonderland will operate as Skate New Haven, with responsibilities for day-to-day management and maintenance functions, launching a comprehensive programming effort to include learn to skate, learn to playing hockey, special events and tournaments. “
The rink will continue to be the home of the Albertus Magnus College hockey team, in accordance with an agreement the city signed with the local Dominican Catholic College in 2018.
âIn its simplest form, with the exception of the refrigeration plant, Skate New Haven will be financially responsible for the housekeeping, operation and maintenance of the facility and all systems and equipment. necessary, related to the âback-of-home operationsâ that are required to provide and maintain a top quality salable ice sheet in a clean, modern facility, âwrote Lisa Fedick, President and CEO of Wonderland of Ice, in a June 1 submission to the city’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new rink operator.
âSkate New Haven will then schedule and sell the ice time and take care of all day-to-day ‘front of the house’ operations.
At the end of the 60-page response, Wonderland of Ice came up with a list of references, starting with Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim.
In that same response to the RFP, Wonderland of Ice estimates that it will achieve pre-tax net operating income of $ 135,300 in its first year of operating the city’s ice rink. This is thanks to estimated revenues of $ 641,500 from ice rental and skating instruction programs, and about $ 506,200 in expenses on everything from staff salaries and benefits to utilities, insurance, maintenance and repairs.
The proposed ice rink schedule would run from October 4 to April 10, with the following daily hours of operation for public skating:
For all operating weeks except from December 24 to January 3, 2022
Monday: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Sunday: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Total: 20 hours per week
From December 24 to January 3, 2022 (open on New Year’s Day)
Monday: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Thursday: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Friday: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Total: 42 hours per week
Let’s be clear – this was never billed as a two-phase project, a project that spanned years. The city lacked money and did not have any. He crawled past Albertus and sought additional funds. There were massive construction delays and while it was still partially built, the city against expert advice, opened the rink for a few weeks, a few days to say it was open. It was under the supervision of the director of parks at the time, Bombero.
This project cost millions – and it cost so much because, like the schools, the city allowed a decent facility to fall into disrepair.
This contract will be a very lucrative business for the operator – not much for the taxpayer. But at least we can use it again.
When I was a kid we would hike to the rink in Edgewood Park and you could rent skates, sharpen your skates, use your locker for your things, buy hot chocolate, hot dogs, snacks and other drinks, sit around the fireplace, hang on the indoor picnic tables and skate with your friends. It was a very sad day when it closed. I am happy that the city has again an ice rink where young and old can learn to skate and have fun. Each NHPS school should organize an excursion to the ice rink.
I think it’s great for the city. I have been to ice wonderland many times with my family and it is the best environment for young people to get away from it all and have fun. The city of New Haven has gained a great group with the addition of the Wonderland of Ice group, which will bring excitement and new activities to the city.