Re-opening the ice rink in Mount Shasta and making it profitable is an achievable  goal, say Friends of the Rink members who are working “behind the scenes.”

“We know the rink lost money in 2010,” FOR’s Steve Bachmann conceded. “But the Annual Revenue and Expenses records indicate the rink generated a profit between 2006 and 2008. We believe we can do that again.”

“With some changes, notably adding a roof, the rink could become a destination attraction, part of the huge winter sports draw, along with the Nordic Center, the Ski Park, and back country opportunities,” Bachmann claimed.

“Ultimately, we want to make the rink a year round facility with a solar energy roof. We want to expand to a full sized rink, and create a new building with new restrooms and facilities,” he added. “But we don’t have blinders on about that plan.”

“It would probably take a million and a half dollars to build a solar panel roof and make all the other changes,” said FOR member Art Horvath said. “But three years ago, the quoted price for the roof alone was three million, so things are looking brighter.”

A million and a half dollars is still a lot of money, but FOR is exploring funding avenues. “We just met with Shannon Phillips, McConnell Foundation’s spokesperson; she was very positive about our plan,” smile Pauline Uri of FOR.

“In fact, she called it a ‘lofty but achievable goal,” Bachmann grinned.

Raising a roof would benefit the rink and the community in several ways. “A roof would reduce regular energy and storm maintenance costs,” Bachmann said. “It would provide consistency in availability and a higher quality of ice. Naturally, the rink could then become a year-round attraction.”

“Then we should be able to run a business that will be sustainable and possibly profitable,” he added. “That would benefit our community and Parks and Recreation.”

“There are lots of friends out there working on this project,” said Mike Rodriguez, district administrator of Mt. Shasta Recreation and Park District. “We’re working closely with FOR; we’re talking about the roof and re-opening. We’re waiting for a proposal of their plan of action and funding.”

“We’re definitely interested in and open to their ideas,” Rodriguez noted. “But we need a facility that will sustain itself. It’s a Catch 22 because we want the rink to open but we need it to be self-supporting.”

“We want the rink to be self-supporting, and we’ve known all along we needed a roof, which is what we’re working on.” Bachmann said. “However, for now, our short range goal is to open the rink in 2012 to keep interest alive.”

“We want to take the community’s pulse to see if there’s enough interest for FOR to continue pursuing our goal,” Bachmann said. “So we’ve created a survey to get feedback. At the January 21st SnowBall in Weed, we had a FOR table; a steady stream of people completed surveys.”

“We’ve collected at least 150 surveys,” Uri noted, “and all the responses were overwhelmingly positive. Though we’ve not begun fundraising, people said they’d pledge hundreds of dollars for the cause.”

Nine year old skater Jenna Gigliotti already donated money for the rink. “I love the ice rink and know lots of people who love it too,” she smiled. “It’s been here a lot of time and it was one of my favorite things to do in the winter. I really miss it, so when I heard people were working to get it open again, I decided to give them $25 of the money I’ve saved up to help out.”

February 5th, FOR launched their website, www.siskiyourink.org.  Their survey, which takes from two to five minutes, is available online.

“We’ve already had a lot of online response, surprisingly from people from as far away as the Bay Area,” Uri said. “One family said they were really disappointed that the rink was closed this year; they’d built their winter vacation around coming here and skating. They, and many like them, want to see the rink open again, and they’re willing to send money to see that happen.”

“Ice skating is healthy, fun, and creative,” Uri smiled. “It’s a freeing form of exercise and is a great way to bring all ages of our community together. One way or other, everyone in the survey said that and that they really miss our rink.

“I hope we can bring our rink back. It is a lofty goal, and FOR is all about lofty,” she added.
Surveys are also available at local businesses. Completed surveys may be dropped off at Mt. Shasta City Hall.

“We’re eager for feedback!” Bachmann smiled. “Fill out a survey today!”