POTSDAM — The ice at Pine Street is scheduled to come out on March 8.
The announcement came during a Town Board meeting Tuesday night when Town Councilwoman Sarah L. Lister gave her Recreation Committee report, saying Recreation Director Trey Smutz had been approached by the Potsdam Figure Skating Club about keeping the ice until April.
The ice is usually removed within the first week of March, Ms. Lister said, but Mr. Smutz was looking specifically at a March 8 removal.
“But he was approached by figure skating and was asked to keep it over all of March and into the beginning of April because they would like to continue to rent that for 16 to 20 hours a week,” she told the board.
But the cost of keeping the ice in longer for what the return would be was something she said was of concern.
Ms. Lister said Mr. Smutz thought it was of value to the community and worth a discussion.
Town Clerk Cindy J. Goliber, who said she could understand the request because of her interactions with figure skating, felt March 8 was early to remove the ice due to competitions and ice shows.
Ms. Lister said that while they might use the ice if it were still available, no other parties have distinctly requested the extended season and Mr. Smutz had a schedule of events that will count on using the arena after the ice is out. There was discussion of extending the ice season next year.
“It’s a production in getting rid of the ice and he makes some money in March, April renting that space out,” Ms. Lister said. “You can see there are upcoming dates and events. Youth baseball starts on March 30 and that gap in that amount of time, it’s nice to have the time to get the ice out, clean it up before baseball starts,” Ms. Lister said.
Councilman Marty Miller said he would like to see an approach where the various associations that use the ice are asked what their interests are and if they were willing to pay for enough hours to pay the bills, it could be considered. “(Y)ou are looking at temperatures and the compressor is running more which your bill is going to be higher,” he said. “You would have to rent quite a bit of ice to pay for it.”
Mr. Miller ran the Norfolk arena and said they opened a month earlier each year but the clubs paid the bills through the hours they locked down.
“So if they could set something up like that and say, ‘if you want an extra month you need to guarantee the hours,’ I think that would be an idea that would work out well for everybody,” Mr. Miller said.
Additionally, Ms. Lister reported that the ice resurfacer is having some problems and a new one would cost $110,000.
“So that’s something that Trey wants us to be aware that in the next couple of years, that’s going to be something that we are going to have to think about,” Ms. Lister said. “Then, perhaps when we get a new one, the old one can be used for an outdoor rink. A ton of people have asked him if Potsdam could have an outdoor rink and so it could be a neat use for the aging Zamboni.”