Woodlands studies making ice rink permanent
The Woodlands Township will spend up to $8,000 to study the feasibility of a creating a permanent ice rink at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
The township hired Pierce, Goodwin, Alexander & Linville to do a site evaluation and develop a conceptual master plan for a permanent ice rink site for the community. The township has an agreement that would allow it to lease space at the pavilion for a permanent seasonal ice rink site as part of a $225,000 grant toward a renovation at the pavilion last year.
The proposed site is a where a party tent is located on the grounds of the pavilion. That facility would be shared with the pavilion.
This is only a study to see the future of the ice rink," said Nick Wolda, president of The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The ice rink has been a seasonal feature in The Woodlands and has attracted 371,000 skaters over 11 years. A new record was set during the 2009-10 season, with 43,508 skaters recorded.
Because 60 percent of the participants come from outside South Montgomery County and shop, dine or lodge in the community, it has become an economic development tool, Wolda said.
But the ice rink doesn't have a permanent home and has had several locations over the years. By locating the facility at the pavilion, the community could avoid the annual $200,000 in set up costs.
Peggy Hausman questioned whether the township needs to be in the ice skating business."
Board Member Tom Campbell said he believes a commercial entity should be brought in to build a hockey rink. Both Hausman and Campbell voted against the feasibility study.
Has this been a board priority?" asked Hausman. Is this the best use of funds. Is this the best time to go into privatizing an ice rink that operates six weeks a year?"
Nelda Luce Blair, chairwoman of the township, said the ice rink is operated by The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau and the study will only look at the feasibility of a permanent site. The township has until 2013 to initiate a lease for such a facility with the pavilion.
It is avoiding the set up costs whether we like it or not in putting it up every year," said Board Member Claude Hunter.
The $8,000 contract would include estimated size requirements, parking, traffic flow and a conceptual cost, Wolda said.
Campbell expressed concern that the township will not control the facility where the ice rink would be located. That space would be shared with the pavilion and used only two months a year.The lease option is part of a $225,000 grant to the pavilion to help with a $9.5 million renovation at the facility after Hurricane Ike.
The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center
The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center has been a seasonal attraction in the community for 11 years. Following are some statistics from its latest two month season, which lasted from November through January:
61 percent of participants came from outside South Montgomery County
97 percent of participants want permanent ice rink in The Woodlands
53 percent of participants plan to spend $25 to $75 during their visit to The Woodlands
71 percent of participants plan to dine in The Woodlands
Source: The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau
Local Advertising by PaperG