ICE RINK FUNDING PROMISED
To help pay for an ice skating rink to return to downtown Jeffersonville for the third year, the parks authority — which is also the city council — agreed to chip in $25,000, but did not officially dedicate the funding.
A financial report released in March showed operating the rink cost the city more than $75,000 last winter. To pay its expenses this year, Sara Schutz, director of special events and the RiverStage for the parks department, requested $25,000 from the city’s Redevelopment Commission and Urban Enterprise Zone, as well as the city council. Combined with the rink admissions, the expectation is that the venture would break even.
Last year’s ice rink expenses far outweighed the money dedicated to the attraction — the same amount dedicated for this year — and the revenues received.
Schutz said the losses were largely due to a drop in revenues because of bad weather. It was cited as a major factor because out of the 13 weather days where the rink was forced to close, the majority were Saturdays and Sundays, the biggest revenue days for the rink, Schutz said.
“The first year we brought in $75,000 in revenue, last year we brought in $50,000,” she said. “I would expect we will bring in $50,000 or more this year.”
Another Jeffersonville attraction that was expected to help boost revenues for the rink, but that will not have an impact, is the Big Four bicycle and pedestrian bridge. When the actual cost and revenue returns were presented to the parks authority in March, it was anticipated that the Big Four Bridge ramp would be open this winter, allowing Louisville residents to have easy access to the ice skating rink.
However, the bridge ramp into Indiana is not expected to open until 2014.
Despite the loss in potential revenues, Schutz said she still expects the amount the rink brings in will bounce back.
“We will still have people that come over from Louisville,” she said. “I really wasn’t basing that number on the bridge because I wasn’t sure if it would be open,” she said of the anticipated revenues.
The parks authority verbally agreed to pay the $25,000, which is expected to be dedicated by an official vote at the next city council meeting.
The rink is scheduled to open the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, and remain open into January. It will be located near the corner of Spring and Market streets in downtown Jeffersonville, the same location as last year.