Parks and recreation master plan spark concerns among ice rink users

Youth hockey | Photo by bigjohn36 / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY – About 75 Cedar City residents had a chance Tuesday night to voice their opinions on what they want the city’s parks and recreational activities to be in the future.

The city’s Leisure Services Director Bryan Dangerfield hosted a town hall meeting to discuss the city’s leisure services master plan that is a work in progress at this time. Once completed, the Cedar City Council will use the plan to determine funding for future venues and activities.

The Cedar Glacier, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 27, 2013 | Photo by Corey McNeil, St. George News
This 2013 file photo shows skaters at The Glacier Community Ice Rink, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 27, 2013 | Photo by Corey McNeil, St. George News / Cedar City News

The meeting was the second of its kind in the last few months. The first one was held in October to kick off an online survey residents can take to provide their input on a parks and recreational master plan for the city. Since then nearly 1,100 people have responded.

Dangerfield and Jay Bollwinkel, an urban designer and land planner with MGB+A reviewed some of the responses with the public Tuesday night sparking concerns from the group who largely represented users of The Glacier Community Ice Rink. The group, many of them with children who play ice hockey, made up most of the public in attendance at both town hall meetings.

Kerry Rudd Fain, one of the founders of the ice rink, asked Dangerfield and Bollwinkel why the survey did not list the ice rink as one of the venues used by the public. Several other residents shared concerns that by not having it as an option would prevent it from being part of the city’s master plan going forward.

“I’m concerned that when the city council considers the master plan in the future the ice rink won’t be something that they’re going to be looking at because the numbers on the survey aren’t going to show the support for it,” one resident said.

Respondents who fill out the survey however, do have the option of listing it under “other.” Some residents are worried though that responders won’t know they have that option.

A few residents speaking with Cedar City News following the meeting said they wondered if the decision to leave the ice rink off the venues listed on the survey was a political one.

“I don’t know why it was left off,” said Jessie Jones. “I just know that it was and it concerns me because there are people who don’t support the ice rink and I have to wonder, was it left off for political reasons?

Dangerfield denied any political motives but said he didn’t list the venue because the rink is not owned or operated by the city.

“It had nothing to do with political reasons,” Dangerfield said. “I just didn’t think about putting it on the venue list because it wasn’t owned by the city. It is under the questions regarding participation in activities so it is on the survey it’s just not listed under venues. But I realize it was a mistake and I admit that but it wasn’t done because of political reasons.”

The rink was created as a private-public partnership in 2012 paid for by both RAP tax (a tax that funds recreation, arts and parks concerns) and private donations from residents. At the time, the city agreed to allow Fain and those assisting her to build the rink on city property next to Cedar City Aquatic Center, but with no guarantees the location would be permanent.

Public officials and users of the facility argue that since the rink is setup on city-owned property the question of permanency needs to be a part of the master plan.

“We have to decide whether we are going to keep that rink there or what we’re going to,” Councilman Paul Cozzens said. “I think it’s a no-brainer though. We should leave it there. It’s been a huge asset and I feel that we really would be making a mistake to make them move.”

The councilman, who has been a key supporter of the rink, said the rink has benefited the local economy and increased numbers and profits to the aquatic center, particularly the indoor snack bar. Cozzens said he would like to see the facility be allowed to stay where it’s at.

Another option for the rink’s site is a recreation center that Bollwinkel said would have a multi-million dollar price tag, something Cozzens adamantly opposes.

“I do not have the appetite to vote for something that is going to put the city in debt and that’s what a recreational center would do,” Cozzens said. “The ice rink on the other hand, with 19,000 visitors last year brings in revenue to this city. We have to consider that.”

Residents can fill out the survey online via Cedar City’s website. It will continue to be available through January.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

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