Reopen the South Rink
The South Rink was shut down at the onset of COVID-19 and has not yet reopened. After necessary patch repairs and a fresh paint job completed during the pandemic, the City did not put ice down in the fall of 2021, citing a 30% budget cut, lack of staffing, and COVID-19 risks imposed by extra traffic in the building. In June '23, lines in the South Rink were punctured while relocating old dasher boards from the North.
We ask that the City reopens the South Rink during peak skating season from October through mid-February, annually. The South Rink is an incredible asset to our community that has yet to be fully leveraged.
- City financial data from April '22 proved that operating the South in tandem with the North greatly reduces overall building costs and could potentially reach profitability
- Maintaining a dual rink facility increases community access to ice while also attracting outside business via local, regional, and national tournaments
- There are plenty of underutilized gym spaces in Cleveland Heights to conduct off-season dryland training activities
- Access to these spaces must be exhausted before repurposing a functional ice surface at the expense of youth and adult ice programming
WHATS NEXT FOR THE SOUTH?
In order to have any kind of impact at City Hall to keep both rinks open, it was suggested by City Council that both residents and non-residents attend a bi-monthly Regular City Council meetings (1st and 3rd Mondays) and make a 3 minute public comment. See Nov '22 update below for best practices and how to comment.
You can email City Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Mayor (email@example.com) directly, but another forum to consider is submitting an opinion piece to the Heights Observer publication. It will reach a much wider audience!
Instructions and submission link can be found here: http://www.heightsobserver.org/read/submission-instructions/
In Dec '22, Mayor Seren said a future date would be set for public comment on the use of the South Rink.
APRIL '23 - REPAIRS TO BE COMPLETED ON THE NORTH
After a month long outage starting in late December, repairs to the North Rink were made to get programming through the end of the 22-23 season.
The City has selected a contractor, Tempest Engineering, who will begin work on the North Rink in May '23. The project is projected to be completed by the end of September '23 with a hard deadline of October 15, 2023.
The North Rink dasher boards will be retro-fitted and moved to the South Rink as an upgrade to the existing boards on the South.
DEC 5 '22 - EASTSIDE GOES TO CITY HALL!
Thank you all who sacrificed their Monday night to attend the City Council Meeting! Councilmembers have since reached out in response, thanking us for the input and participation. We understand this is just the beginning, but you were all heard! We will be notified when the next opportunity for public comment on the issue is scheduled.
Here is the Cleveland.com article on the evening.
And the live stream replay.
NOVEMBER 2022 - NORTH RINK ISSUES
On November 17, during the City Council Budget Hearing Meeting, Mayor Seren revealed there are extensive repairs needed on the North Rink:
- The North Rink is in such bad condition that it requires the full strength of the compressor system to operate at this time
- Opening the South Rink would risk bringing down both rinks
- Patchwork repairs to the North Rink have been made for years, but it is at a point that patchwork repairs will likely no longer suffice and a complete overhaul--redesign and rebuild--is needed
- The finance director said that this would likely be a million-dollar project, and the City does not have the capital for it, so we would be looking at taking on debt to finance it; the Mayor mentioned that the City would also be looking at any other fundraising opportunities as well
- They are reviewing different proposals for dryland use of the South Rink
- NO funding for repairs was included in the budget
Details available here.
SEPTEMBER 2022 - PUSH TO REOPEN THE SOUTH
It is suggested by City Council to have people make public comments during bi-monthly Regular City Council meetings. These are typically held every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, 7:30 at City Hall.
Each person can speak for 3 minutes max. Councilmembers have recommended coming in groups of 5+ people, rotate, and come in multiple times. That's the only way this issue will get any attention.
When speaking, it was stressed that everyone pay close attention to their messaging, by:
- clearly stating what you want and what you don't want
- state both your immediate ask as well as your larger ask (we all have a similar ask, but for different reasons, which is powerful)
- don't talk about all the things... stay on track with what matters to you most
Councilmember Josie Moore outlined the process of how to give a public comment at Council meetings on her website: https://josiemooreforclevelandheights.com/2022/08/23/how-to-give-a-public-comment-during-a-cleveland-heights-city-council-meeting/
Heights parent Jennifer Lang gave an excellent example. You can see that here.
You can also email Mayor Seren firstname.lastname@example.org directly, but we were told public comments are the way to go to ensure your voice is heard.
Tell your friends, family, teammates, and fellow residents... if they want to see the South Rink reopened for us all to enjoy, now is the time for your voice to be heard- and Regular City Council meetings are the place to do it!
APRIL 2022 - REC DEPARTMENT REVELATION
In April 2022, during a Parks and Rec meeting, a single vs dual rink operating comparison revealed that the Community Center loses almost $100k/year in a single rink scenario. This is due to the absence of revenue generated by the South Rink in rentals to weekend hockey tournaments, local high school and college club hockey teams and other youth programming on the ice. The South Rink is old, but by no account is it inoperable. For more details, read the open letter submitted to the Mayor and City Council in September 2022.