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Escanaba approves ­agreement for new ice rink

ESCANABA — Ludington Park may have a new ice rink as early as November of this year. On Thursday, the Escanaba City Council approved a donation agreement between the city and Enhance Escanaba to install a refrigerated ice skating rink in the Ludington Park.

Enhance Escanaba is a nonprofit volunteer organization, made up of members who share a unified vision to enhance the appearance of the City of Escanaba.

The agreement passed on a unanimous vote with Mayor Pro Tem Karen Moore abstaining from the vote as she is also the president of Enhance Escanaba.

“I think it’s a council thing of if this something we wanna do, something we want to take on, does the community want (this). We can make it happen, but it just takes time and money,” City Manager James R. McNeil said.

The ice rink will be purchased from Iron Sleek, an outdoor sports store located in Addison, Ill.

According to the agreement, the ice rink includes all necessary equipment and components for operation including, but not limited to, refrigeration units, ice surface materials, boards, utility connections and any related accessories.

Once the city accepts the donation, it will become a city asset.

In addition to the donation of the rink, Enhance Escanaba will provide $15,000 to the city to establish a maintenance fund for the rink. The fund is to be used at the discretion of the city, but the primary purpose is to fund any needed repairs or proper upkeep.

Moore explained the ins and outs of the ice rink, but did not participate in the voting process.

“It’s a refrigerated ice rink that is not permanent, it’s movable,” Moore said. She said that can be placed on top of grass as early as November and it will be available up until April 1.

“It works with chillers, so anything under 50 degrees — kids can skate. So, wouldn’t that have been nice to have it this year with our winter,” Moore said.

She added that the current rink has not been suitable years prior because the temperature has not been consistently cold enough.

“p4″>”The ice rink in Escanaba has not been able to be flooded for, I think its one of out the last four years and it’s strictly because of the weather. It has to be consistently in the teens for a certain amount of time and they just haven’t been able to do it,” Moore said.

She added that the last time the rink was open was only for four or five weeks.

“In our opinion, the refrigerated ice rink is the answer,” Moore said.

Moored added that rink will be ADA accessible,

She said that Enhance Escanaba will fund the entire rink, including paying for upgrades to the electrical as well funding the lights and the water.

City employees will be responsible for assembling and disassembling the rink. Moore said that Iron Sleek will train city employees on the process. Any maintenance or upkeep to the rink will be a joint effort between city employees and volunteers.

As far as storing the rink in the offseason, Moore said Enhance Escanaba is purchasing a storage unit that will be placed at the Escanaba Public Works Department.

To help raise this money, Enhance Escanaba applied for the MEDC Public Spaces Community Places PSCP, a grant match program that utilizes donation-based crowdfunding to generate public interest and funding to revitalize or create public spaces. In order to fund this project, Moore said they need to raise $250,000. She added that the more they raise, the larger the rink can be.

“We have a goal for a certain size, but if we raise more then we will have a bigger rink. The nice thing about this is we can start out with a certain size and we can expand it if needed,” Moore said.

The suggested area for the rink is in Ludington Park, just south of the tennis court parking lot.

“This is going to be an experiment for the first year because we don’t know how it’s going to work,” Moore said.

She added that the city would be in control of the rink, saying if Enhance Escanaba does not raise enough to fund the project then the city would just not put the rink together.

Council Member Tyler DuBord wanted to make sure that the idea was presented to the Escanaba Parks and Recreation Department to which Moore said yes, the idea was approved months ago.

“My personal opinion, with our cuts that we have had to do we’ve eliminated our current ice rinks — I think this is something we can give back to the community for our youth and adults to give them back those memories of iceskating all over the place in this community,” DuBord said.

DuBord then motioned to approve the donation, hopeful that it will work out. The motion was seconded by Council Member Ronald Beauchamp and passed unanimously.

In other business the council

– Held a public hearing and approved ordinance 1296 in regard to waste collection. The changes include placing the carts out for pickup no sooner the 24 hours before the pickup date and returning them to a storage area no more than 24 hours after the pickup date. Additionally, the ordinance requires carts to be at least three feet away from other objects such as a fence, vehicle, building or other carts. The purpose was to prevent damage to the truck and other structures as it passes through the small areas. The city said this will be even more necessary when they purchase a new garbage truck that is bigger than the current model. McNeil said in the past the truck has driven on grass, hit a building and damaged bins.

Four residents from an area know as “Snake Alley” in the Lake Shore Drive area spoke against the ordinance. The main concern was neighbors required to move the carts further away to 8th Street, especially in the winter. The ordinance was approved by a 4-to-1 vote, with Council Member Todd Flath in opposition.

– Held a public hearing and approved an ordinance allowing people to work on vehicles on their own properties, which was prohibited. McNeil said that the new ordinance rights and wrong and will allow people to work on their vehicle on their own property.

– Held a public hearing and approved an amendment to the current Appropriations Ordinance to balance out over and under expenditures within various departmental budgets for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

– Approved a public hearing to be scheduled on July 18 in regard to a petition from property  owners requesting the city to construct a cul-de-sac on the end of South 20th Street.

– Approved a request from code enforcement to authorize the city attorney to file suit in circuit court against David Rudden of 2111 12th Avenue South for property maintenance code violations such as blight on the property. Multiple neighbors of Rudden spoke during the public comment section, pleading with the council to do something as it has been an ongoing problem.

– Approved a Special Event Application to hold a Labor Day Celebration Parade and beer tent.

– Approved the property and liability insurance policy with Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority.

– Approved the hiring of Pemble Concrete to do work on the bathroom and break room at the Escanaba Public Works Department for a total of $9,000.

– Approved the hiring of Klee Logging and Tree Service for removal, restoration and seeding for stump grinding.

– Approved the purchase of a new garbage truck from Loadmaster and UP Truck Center. The body of the truck is provided by Loadmaster for $175,750 and the chassis provided by UP Truck Center is $125,495 for a grand total of $301,245. Dubord motioned to approve the request but increased the amount given to $310,000 as it was already budgeted for the year.

– Approved a bid of $394,903.96 submitted by M&M Service for a new fuel station.

– Approved a request from the water department to hire any licensed contractor to an install a water service at a rate of $3,250 for a half service or $6,100 for a full service.

– Approved hiring InfiniClean, LLC, from Gladstone for cleaning of the City of Escanaba Wastewater Plant for the fiscal year 2024-2025 in amount not to exceed $14,560.

– Approved the request to continue utilizing the services of Comprehensive Risk Services for worker compensation.

– Approved the purchase of a new CAT 930 loader from Fabric CAT for $226,132.

– Approved a request for cameras to be installed at the fuel station not to exceed $4,879.

– Approved a request to have Berger and King complete bathroom renovations at the public works facility not to exceed $13,000.

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