Arena rental rates go up in Coon Rapids

Winter and summer ice rental fees will increase at the Coon Rapids Ice Center for the 2012-2013 season.

The Coon Rapids Ice Center
The Coon Rapids Ice Center

The Coon Rapids City Council, on the recommendation of Acting City Manager/Public Services Director Steve Gatlin and Ice Center Manager Craig Scott, unanimously approved the higher fees, which also affect the refrigerated outdoor rink and the discount for the Coon Rapids Youth Hockey Association.

According to Gatlin, rates have been adjusted annually, the last time in June 2011.

Under the new rate structure, summer prime time (June-August) will go up from $120 to $130 an hour and winter prime time (September-March) from $185 to $190 an hour.

That represents a 7.7 percent increase in summer prime time rates and a 2.7 percent hike in the winter charge, Gatlin wrote in a memo to the council.

Scott surveyed the ice rental rates for seven other arenas in the Twin Cities area and found that the average proposed winter rate for the 2012-2013 season is $182.

“The suggested rates for the 2012-2013 season would put us slightly ahead of most other arenas assuming they increase rates to the proposed amounts,” Gatlin wrote in his memo.

“However, staff believes our proposed rates are reasonable given the quality of our new facility.”

According to Gatlin, the increased rates will help offset increased operation and maintenance costs for the facility for the 2012-2013 season.

The spring season rate will remain at $140 (April-May).

The youth hockey association has been charged $170 an hour for winter prime time ice use compared with the regular $185 an hour charge.

With the winter prime time rate increasing to $190 an hour, Scott recommended the youth hockey association be charged $175 an hour for the 2012-2013 season.

In addition, the council approved Scott’s recommended increase of the outdoor rink rate from $60 an hour to $75 an hour with the youth hockey association charge jumping from $50 an hour to $60 an hour.

According to Scott, he has had discussions with the youth hockey association about the increases.

Scott proposed the larger increase in the outdoor rink rate because of increase demand for the rink and higher maintenance costs due to snow removal, Gatlin said in his memo.

“It’s more labor intensive,” Scott told the council.

In setting the outdoor ice rate when the ice center opened in September last year, there was no benchmark because it is the only one of its type in the state and possible the country, he said.

“The rate was artificially low,” Scott said.

And with minimal snow and few bone-chilling temperatures, the outdoor ice received a great deal of use last winter, according to Scott.

“The increase of $15 for private rentals and $10 for CRYHA still reflects great value for the experience of skating on an outdoor refrigerated and Zamboni-maintained surface and maintains a preferred rate for CRYHA,” Scott said.

No changes have been made to the charges for public skating (adult, youth and seniors), school groups including skates, Anoka-Ramsey Community College intramural, adult open hockey, stick and puck, skate sharpening and skate rental.

Mayor Tim Howe called most of the increases a “natural progression” and was pleased to see no hike in the open skating charges.

But he asked that the ice time allocated for open skating be consistent “so people know.”

According to the 2013 proposed city budget, expenditures for the ice arena are pegged at $673,866, up from the amended 2012 budget of $538,618, but less than the 2012 estimated expenditures of $698,883.

Revenues from ice time, pro shop and vending sales are projected to be $394,300 in the 2013 budget.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]