Carson City will open its Arlington Square Ice Rink again this year just in time for the winter holiday season.
The Board of Supervisors approved a contract Thursday for the Parks and Recreation Department to operate the facility and the Office of Business Development to provide marketing support.
The OBD operated the rink last year at Arlington Square on Carson Street across from the Carson Nugget. The rink is scheduled to open the day after Thanksgiving this year and operate daily for two months.
While some people spoke out against the rink Thursday, most supported it.
Freida Ford, from Friends of the Carson City Library, said she saw it as a quality of life issue.
"I've been here for 40 years and it's just in the last few years that it's been fun to go downtown," she said. "I don't skate, but I went downtown several times and drank hot chocolate and watched people skate."
Lucille Munoz, 19, received a round of applause after reading a letter she'd written to supervisors.
She said the venue was something for teenagers, that it provided a "romantic evening under the stars" for adults, as well as something "for little ones who have dreams," and that Carson City needed to "show tourists that we are a great community."
And Alyssa Harrison, a young mother whose family has lived in the area 100 years, said it was time for something downtown that families could enjoy together.
"Fridays at Third is great, but you can't take your kids there."
She said the parents at Seeliger Elementary School were already talking about having events at the ice rink.
Lenny Chappell, president of the 63-member Downtown Business Association, reported that a vote taken in their group came out in favor of the ice rink, although "it was close." But when the same people were asked whether they'd throw their support into the rink if the measure passed, "every hand went up," he said.
Businessman Jed Block challenged downtown merchants to be proactive about taking advantage of the rink by staying open later and using promotions.
"Get your butts down there and pass out coupons," he said.
Heather Ware, of the Downtown Business Association, was visibly upset when addressing the board.
"I'm speaking against this rink because it tore apart my downtown," she said, referring to the divisiveness between those who supported the rink and those who didn't.
She asked, among other things, that if the board approved the contract, the fence around the rink be lowered, that bleachers be put in and that local vendors be used to provide the food.
Supervisor Pete Livermore, who voted against the ice rink, said he was torn.
"I'm pleased we've identified the ice rink as a recreation facility," he said. "I've struggled with spending this money as a downtown business event."
The board voted unanimously to fund the projected shortfall of $135,000 from the Redevelopment Authority revolving fund. The rink is budgeted to cost $262,000, with revenues of only $127,000.