Council considers not operating rink this winter
As part of yet another in a long series of budget meetings Thursday night, Mammoth Lakes’ Town Council edged closer to suspending operation of its controversial ice rink facility this coming winter season.
Council has yet to solidify several policy decisions in pursuit of a solution to its $1.3 million projected budget shortfall, and holding off on operating the ice rink could bring the Town as much as $250,000 closer to that goal. Some Council members, as well as their constituents, have been critical of the rink, which has consistently operated at a loss since it began operation a few short years ago.
The rink has also met with criticism for where it was built (on land that the Town doesn’t own, but leases from Mammoth Unified School District) and has been fraught with funding challenges that have plagued its completion. Still without a solid surface under the ice and a roof, the rink was intended to be “multipurpose,” but so far has been used only for skating in winters.
Council indicated it might be best, at least for the next budget year, to opt to take a step back and deliberate the future of the rink. One option still being discussed involves eliminating the current rink site and setting up a new, different rink in another location in town, be it near the Village or the town entrance just off Hwy 203.
Council member John Eastman said not operating the rink for the coming winter isn’t a done deal at this point, and currently is simply one option being considered, though he did allow things seems to pointing that way. He added there is other input Council has yet to review before making any firm decision on the matter. Funding for operating the ice rink this coming winter could, if necessary, be paid for at least in part via a Measure R grant.