CEDAR CITY —Dallin Staheli announced that Staheli Recreation Management will no longer be moving forward with plans to construct a new location for the Glacier Ice Rink during Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
In September of last year, the Cedar City Council voted to partially fund the construction of a new ice rink as part of the agreement with private entity Staheli Rec. Management, with the intention that further discussions to hash out details, such as a lease agreement, continue.
Staheli started by providing the council with an update on the ice rink’s performance, reporting increases from last year in season pass sales, learn to skate participants, youth and adult hockey registrations as well as private rentals.
“We’re not going to be able to move forward with our plans for the future,” Staheli said. “I guess we’ve hit a roadblock. We’ve had our discussions on the contract, it’s not something that we feel comfortable with.”
Staheli said the decision to discontinue the plans for the new location was determined over several weeks, and that the board received feedback from several sources.
“Nobody has advised us to move forward,” he said. “Nobody’s even hesitated to advise us that its not a smart move. With that, we’re going to withdraw our efforts for that. It’s not in bad faith … its just an impasse that we’ve come to, and we’ve gone round and round enough that it’s time for us to call it quits.”
Staheli also reflected on the entire process of the public-private partnership.
“We’ve learned some stuff, I hope the city’s learned some stuff,” he said. “Maybe next time someone comes forward wanting to partner with a city in providing something, hopefully we’ve learned something that will help something else good come along.”
Despite Staheli Rec. Management stepping down from the project, he said he still believes that a new ice rink would benefit the city.
Councilman Scott Phillips said he was disappointed with this outcome, and wanted to clarify the reason Staheli Rec. Management decided to cease their efforts. Staheli explained that the “nail in the coffin” for the board was the lease agreement.
“There was some very concerning things in the lease,” Staheli said. “And I guess the approach that we weren’t partners, we were tenants that were being paid to be there — it’s a very challenging thing for us to try to move forward with anyway, I’m just not confident that we’re going to get there the ways things are going.”
Phillips said perhaps some of the lease terminology may have contributed to the idea of being tenants rather than partners.
“If we really believe that it’s in the best interest of the youth and the children in this community to have winter sports, it seems to me we need to find a way to work through that,” he said. “With all due respect, these five council people here govern city – we have expert staff, and believe me they know their stuff – but we govern the city and I wish that you would’ve come and spoke to some of us before this final decision was made, because I’m very disappointed.”
Councilman Craig Isom said he also would have liked discussion before the decision was reached.
“I share that disappointment,” Isom said. “You know that I’ve been involved in this from the very beginning, and a $2.85 million commitment seemed to send the message that we were a true partner.”
Staheli concluded his announcement by saying, “Just so you know, no one’s got more heart and soul in it than me.”
Dave Staheli, owner of Staheli West, also commented on the decision not to move forward.
“The day that the agreement was voted on, I believe we made it clear that under the terms that were on the agreement – that we discussed very much at length – that we would not be able to move forward if that was passed under those terms,” Dave Staheli said. “One of the major problems was being able to secure funding.”
Dave Staheli explained although he was aware that a private entity was asking the city for funding, and did not expect it “fly through” without difficulty, complications arose when it was advised that the city not split the funding into two parts.
“That became an issue for some of the entities that we were trying to work with to secure funding,” Dave Staheli said. “Because the first portion that was committed as a cash donation basically, or through the means of the agreement, was fine, but the second part could be withdrawn at any time depending on who was on the city council, which put the rest of that on shaky ground. … It almost set sort of an attitudinal problem in the first place, and some withdrew their interest in making any donations just looking that.”
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