August 6, 2010 – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno is calling on the Springfield City Council to appropriate funding so that the City’s Parks Division can manage and operate the Romeo Cyr Skating Arena in Forest Park. The City’s Board of Park Commissioners support the Mayor’s plan.
The Romeo Cyr Arena has been operated by FMC Rink Management Corporation for the past three years. FMC has notified the City that they are no longer interested in the operation of the rink nor are they responding to an RFP related to its continued operation thereof.
In Fiscal Year 2011, the funding for Cyr Arena will be appropriated by the General Fund and offset by estimated revenues that the arena reserves for use of the facility. It is estimated that the Fiscal Year 2011 cost/revenue will be $317,000. This requires the approval of the City Council. The City’s Finance Department will submit a supplemental budget to the Council and encourage them to call a special meeting in order to expedite the transition. Beyond Fiscal Year 2011, the Finance Department will be working to recommend a funding model that may consist of the creation a special fund where revenues for the use of the arena are dedicated to the arena’s operating costs. It is the goal of the City to maintain the arena as a self sustaining operation.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I personally witnessed concerns with the outsourcing of this operation during the past three years and feel the City can provide a quality ice skating facility. Cyr Arena has a long history of being managed by the City and there were never any financial concerns with this operation. I think this is a good case of government doing a better job in serving the public. It is the mission of the Parks Division to provide quality recreational resources. I am proud to be turning the day to day operation back to the control of the Park Commission.”
John Maloney, Park Commission Chair stated, “The overall consensus of the Park Commission is that the privatization of the rink has not been successful. One of the primary concerns of the commissioners is the overall condition of the rink which has deteriorated since the outsourcing began. There have been numerous public complaints and on one occasion the department was called in to close the public restrooms down due to the illegal wiring of space heaters with extension cords. Also, there was a roof fire in the air handler unit which could have been prevented if timely repairs had been made to the building’s HVAC system.”
Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management stated, “The Parks Division has always taken pride in running the Cyr Arena and will ensure this operation will continue to provide both the youth and senior leagues with a quality experience. The success of the operation will be determined by the income derived from ice rentals. We are urging all organizations interested in ice rental for the 2010-2011 season to contact the Parks Division at 787-6438 and speak with John Cirelli to book ice time.”