Olympia City Council is expected to approve a seasonal ice skating rink at its Tuesday night meeting (May 15), one that would open on the city's isthmus property the weekend after Thanksgiving and operate through early January.
That's according to Paul Simmons, the city's parks, arts and recreation director, who said the idea for a downtown rink has been under consideration for about two years, but there was added momentum now that a park is under construction on the same site.
The agenda item is on the council's consent calendar — identified as a place for items of a routine nature — but it could be pulled from the calendar to be discussed by the council, he said.
Still, he expects the project to be approved Tuesday, Simmons said.
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If so, the city plans to sign a contract with a vendor called Ice Rink Events, which operates similar venues in Bellevue and Point Ruston. The rink will operate seven days a week, rent ice skates and be covered by a tent with retractable walls. Other vendors likely will serve hot chocolate and coffee. Admission prices have yet to be determined, he said.
Simmons said the rink could create a new holiday tradition and bring more people to downtown Olympia. It will operate in conjunction with Downtown for the Holidays, the Olympia Downtown Alliance event. Other partners include Experience Olympia & Beyond and the Thurston Economic Development Council.
A preliminary budget calls for expenses of $364,000 and revenue of $366,000 in its first year of operations. However, the revenue projection includes money from the city, so the city is subsidizing about 60 percent of the operation in its first year, he said.
Simmons acknowledged some were concerned about that subsidy, but Simmons thinks the amount of the subsidy will fall 15 percent a year through added sponsorships and other cost savings.
Olympia City Council meets at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E.