Mammoth Lakes’ Multi-Use Facility (known to most as the Ice Rink) may be moving to Mammoth Creek Park East or West after heated consideration at the April 1 Town Council meeting. The Ice Rink has a long and—typical of Mammoth—convoluted history.
In 1998, the Town considered building the Ice Rink at Mammoth Creek Park West, but abandoned the idea shortly after and began operating an ice rink at the Mammoth RV Park. In 2007, the Town entered into a long-term agreement with the Mammoth Unified School District (MUSD) to build the Rink on MUSD-owned property behind the Mammoth Library. (Editor’s note: Lunch vividly recalls that the Town also credited Mammoth Mountain Ski Area roughly $600,000 in future Development Impact Fee waivers to grade the property.
According to Recreation Commissioner Bill Sauser, the Town abandoned Mammoth Creek Park West as a permanent home for the Rink in part because of residential concerns about noise and light pollution, not only the Ice Rink, but a much larger proposed facility that could have included volleyball courts and a BMX track.
Operating the Ice Rink on School District-owned property comes with drawbacks, however. One of those is the annual lease payment of $37,800, set to expire 2017;
Town Manager Dan Holler said that the Town had considered another 20-year lease with MUSD, but that “working through the current lease structure and value of the land, it didn’t make sense to have that level of investment [about $1 million] for property we may never own.”
In a phone call Thursday, MUSD Superintendent Lois Klein said the District never received a proposal from the Town after brief initial discussions, which she found surprising. “We never said no to them,” she said.
Town Public Works Director Grady Dutton said he estimated environmental review for the relocation would take about four months, and that moving the Rink itself would take about two months, at a cost of anywhere between $400,000 and $600,000.
While news that the Ice Rink might find a permanent home after 17 years was greeted with enthusiasm by some at Wednesday night’s meeting, others protested how the move would hold up the erection of a new Rink roof.
Holler informed those users at Wednesday’s meeting that “If we are relocating the Rink, we’re not going to meet the roof timeline [of completion by 2015/16].” At best, Holler said the Rink could be relocated at Mammoth Creek Park West within a two year timeframe.
… More on this story next week. Personally, I hated the idea of the rink at Mammoth Creek Park ten years ago and I hate it now. It’s a nice peaceful place that gets a lot of use from a wide demographic. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot because the powers-that-be (School District & Town) can’t figure out a win-win solution in the current location. Arrrgh. Makes all the sense in the world to ruin Mammoth Creek Park for thousands so that hundreds may enjoy it. Makes perfect sense for a town with a limited number of amenities to consolidate two amenities into one. We’re literally going to turn the current rink site back into scrub brush because Shaq and Kobe can’t get along?
Tom Cage would’ve gotten a deal done.