Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pasadena City Council to hockey players: you are a lower breed and we don't need you, want you or care about you!

That's the kind of headline you get after Puck Boy imbibes a large coffee on an empty stomach at Peets, ruminating about why elected officials in GeezerTown are in such an un-hurry to secure a future for ice skating and hockey here.

Attentive readers of this blog -- which, btw, is henceforth emerging from its summer hibernation -- already know the basic story. In 2009, the Pasadena City Council balked at building a new ice rink with two sheets of ice, citing concerns over cost and location. 

Then, in July of this year, the Council again balked at relocating the current rink next door to an existing tent structure, citing concerns over....cost and location.

Councilman Steve Madison is clearly for preserving ice skating in Pasadena, but I can't say the same about the rest of the Council who clearly have issues with anything having to do with...COST AND LOCATION. Those are their go-to keywords for wishing the issue would just go away.

In case you were the curious sort, the cost of building an entirely new rink in eastern Pasadena was nearly $20 million. Some of that would have been repaid to the city through revenues generated by the rink. The cost of relocating the rink to the tent structure is a $1.5-million loan to be repaid to the city over 10 years. 

In the meantime, a member of my hockey team spotted this intriguing little story in the Star News about a proposed $171-million renovation of the Rose Bowl. My favorite sentence:
The new press box, which will take a few years to construct, is expected to have six levels and include broadcast media rooms, suites and premium club seats, concession stands and an underground kitchen. 
So there you go. The city is willing to invest in premium club seats for corporate fat cats and a new kitchen for sportswriters who may starve to death over the course of a three-hour contest. But when it comes to investing in a sport actually played by city residents, the Council basically couldn't give two hairy poops about a sport played by its own residents.

The best -- actually the worst -- part about all of this is that relocating the rink to the tent-thing at the Convention Center isn't a long-range solution. The city still wants to develop the site -- officials have wet dreams of a big, fancy hotel there. So they still need to find a permanent home for ice skating in the city. But that's a problem for another day because Fat Cat Football Fans need tending to.

Finding a long-term location for the rink comes after the Council meeting later this month when, once again, our fearless and winter-hating leaders must vote to ensure skating's future in Pasadena by voting for a temporary relocation. In the meantime, we're now one year from the current rink losing its lose and closing. 

P.S.: There's a giant parcel of land for sale on the corner of Colorado and Hill, the site of the former Ford dealer. It's big enough for a rink and parking and it's across the street from Pasadena Community College, who perhaps could partner with the new rink by offering skating classes. At the least, a new rink there would offer a place for PCC students to grope one another during public skate sessions -- an activity always in demand. Here's a Google map with a satellite view of the location.


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