Mammoth contemplates building a MUF at Hollywood prices. Clearly, all those $100,000 Grand bars come with a side of nuts.
Mammoth residents learned on Wednesday, December 21 that they won’t be skating on their new world-class ice rink/multi-use facility, affectionately nicknamed the MUF, by October 31, 2017, and that the current price tag for the facility, calculated by HMC Architects, is a cool $10,580,000.
Mammoth Town Council voted 3-1, with Mayor Shields Richardson dissenting, to move forward with an option that may have Mammoth skating by Thanksgiving or Christmas of 2017, barring any lawsuits during the Environmental Impact Review period which, Town Attorney Andy Morris said, could cost the town a good deal of money if any of the neighboring residents to the proposed site at Mammoth Creek Park West (MCPW) decide to sue. “Depending on how the [California Environmental Quality Act] litigation goes, $100 thousand is not unreasonable [to spend fighting a lawsuit]. It could be a lot more,” said Morris.
Lynn Altieri-Need, an advocate for the rink, arrived with 150 signatures advocating for momentum on the MUF.
“It is a little frustrating to hear October 2017 until two weeks ago [as an opening date], and now hear, ‘Well, maybe Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas, and maybe further than that.’”
She reminded Council of the opposition they faced when they first decided to put the MUF on the town-owned MCPW. “With the potential for litigation that was promised by people that sat in this room…Town Council still sat here and said, ‘Nope, we want it on our existing land.”
The Sheet reported in October, 2015, when the vote passed Town Council to build the facility at MCPW, that Altieri-Need also expressed skepticism on the price of the proposed MUF.
“The Town Manager [Dan Holler] did an excellent job of baiting us all with a lowball figure of $400,000-600,000 to relocate the rink [from its current location near the Mammoth Lakes Library]. That number quickly increased to $1.3-1.5 million. This figure remains in place with no consideration of the cost of litigation…Are we a town that has so much money that we can risk forcing this through?” she asked at the time.
Fast-forward to today, and a $10 million facility. “This is the number we got from the architects,” said Public Works Director Grady Dutton on Wednesday. This includes $1,171,000 for site work; $1,911,000 for a Community Center (which was a primary focus of the facility when the MUF was approved, but has since been relegated to a “phase-in” component); $870,000 for a support building (to house chillers, a Zamboni, etc); $5,498,000 for the ice rink/rec zone itself; and $1,130,000 in “other” costs. These costs, again, do not include the possibility of lawsuits which have been promised by members of the La Vista Blanc Homeowners Association.
It also does not take into account the cost of restoring the existing rink site [behind Mammoth Lakes Library] to its pre-rink condition, which the Town is contractually obligated to do
It also means the Town is walking away from an existing rink site it has invested more than $2 million into.
“I wanted to get this to Council as soon as possible make sure you absorb this and start thinking about some of the stuff we can do … get you a sense of where we are so we can start working on funding strategies and value engineering,” said Dutton.
Dutton presented Council with several options, including authorizing an amount not to exceed $250,000 to HMC Architects to “further the design, enable additional value engineering work and prepare more detailed cost estimates.”
They also had the option to choose to authorize “only enough design services to enable the design refinement/value engineering process to continue ($25,000) until such time as the EIR is considered for certification and the 30 day statute of limitations for CEQA challenge has been completed.”