New ice-skating rink to cost city $447,000; includes $20,000 for 'festive' artificial Christmas tree

The full cost of the new, temporary Bettendorf ice-skating rink will balloon to nearly $450,000 once the annual operating expenses and a $20,000 artificial Christmas tree are included in the pricetag.

The city council is expected to sign off on the anticipated $137,000 in operating costs and 30-foot artificial tree at its Tuesday (12/6) meeting. The city had earlier approved acquisition of chiller equipment and other ice rink furnishings (including a supply of used ice skates) for $250,000.

The equipment for the winter recreation amenity at 23rd Street and Middle Road was purchased from funds to be generated by issuing long-term bonds (debt), while the operating expenses and tree are to be purchased with money from the city's general fund.

The ice-skating rink – dubbed Frozen Landing – will officially open Dec. 5. Use of the facility will be free, with skate rental only $2.

"To satisfy the desire of council members and staff to add a very festive and winter atmosphere at Frozen Landing, a 30-foot artificial Christmas tree that is pre-lit and ornamented was purchased at a cost of $19,900 and is currently operational at Frozen Landing," City Administrator Decker Ploehn wrote council members in recommending approval of the expense.

The additional $137,000 for operating the ice-skating rink includes $47,000 for assembly of the rink (including a consultant the city hired), plus $40,000 for part-time personnel to staff the facility, $20,000 to take down the rink after the winter season, and $30,000 for operating costs including electricity to run the chiller to keep the ice frozen.

Winter recreation was one of the council's top priorities in its goal-setting meeting this fall, and Fourth Ward Alderman Greg Adamson has long advocated for the city to provide more winter sports activities.

The city council last month approved issuing $12.4 million in new general obligation bonds, and $700,000 of the indebtedness was earmarked for "Facility development for recreational winter activities, projects, and equipment; improvements to City Life Fitness Center; removal and vacation of street right-of-way for parking improvements and expanded State Street Fire Station. . . "

In addition to the ice-skating rink, the council is expected to approve a $15,000 expenditure for a snowmobile, cross-country track setter/groomer and 12 sets of cross-country skies, poles and boots. The equipment would be used at Palmer Hills Golf Course and Crow Creek Park to encourage residents to try cross-country skiing.

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