Ice rink brings in 8,222 skaters this season
Attendance for the Arlington Square Ice Rink’s second season is being hailed by Carson City staff and a downtown business organization as a great success.
“When you compare this Carson City recreation program to other current recreation programs in total participation, it falls second only to sports tournaments,” said Joel Dunn, Carson City Recreation Department’s program director.
Participation figures show that 8,222 skaters used the rink during the 71⁄2 weeks it operated, including 2,760 adults, 3,126 youths, 1,140 family members on Family Night and 623 youngsters for the After School Skate program. The remainder of skaters were made up of private rink rental participants and punch pass skaters.
The rink opened Thanksgiving day and closed last week.
“We lost a couple of days for snow removal in December,” Dunn said.
Lenny Chappell, chairman of the Carson City Downtown Business Association, said the ice rink was a great benefit to businesses during what is usually a slow time of year.
“The effects were phenomenal,” Chappell said. “We had a lot of sponsors, and next year, I think you’ll see even more sponsors. Parks and recreation kept it simple and allowed people to go out and get coffee or hot chocolate or something to eat.”
“I’d say they pulled off one of the nicest events in downtown Carson City in a long time,” Chappell said.
Because some of the billing and sponsorship figures are not yet available, Dunn said a cost breakdown won’t be ready to be presented to the Board of Supervisors until the end of March. He declined to speculate about the bottom line.
In September, the city learned that the ice rink was expected to cost $262,000 to operate, with anticipated revenues of only $127,000. The shortfall of $135,000 would be made up by funds from the Carson City Redevelopment Authority.
The city’s Office of Business Development, which created the ice rink program to help bring winter vitality to the downtown during the 2008-09 season, operated the rink last year. The city’s recreation department took over operation this season with the OBD provided marketing support.
“We were definitely excited to be part of the Arlington Square Ice Rink,” Dunn said. “Like all other recreation programs, we were expected to create sustainability and maximize cost recovery.”
Cutting into the profit this season will likely be the purchase of tents, lights and a sound system for the rink, which Dunn said will reduce costs next year by up to $40,000. The equipment also can be used for other programs within the department.
Carson City Supervisor and Redevelopment Authority Chairwoman Robin Williamson said she was able to go skating twice during the season.
“It was packed on a Saturday night, so I think the community turned out a lot,” Williamson said. “There were lots of young kids and young families and middle-schoolers, and that was very heartening to me.”