BATAVIA — Batavia’s city manager hopes a new operator will run the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena by next month, though nothing is set in stone and the city is accepting proposals until the end of the business day Friday.
City Manager Rachael Tabelski said Tuesday the city council’s next scheduled meeting is July 11, with no other meetings scheduled until August 8.
“We would like to have someone in place by July 11. The hope is that by July 11 we have everything sorted.” she said of a recommendation to the Council.
“Certainly the city will bear some costs of utilities without an operator with a month or two. We want to make sure we can transfer the utilities to a new operator,” she said.
The city owns the rink. Firland Management has operated the facility for the past 16 years, but ceased management on May 31.
“From what I understand, they operate in larger markets than Batavia. For them, it was a business decision. I don’t think this is a problem with the town and Firland. They decided they didn’t want to operate in the Batavia market,” Tabelski said, adding that Firland slowly halted operations until May 31 and returned the keys to the arena to the city.
The city manager said there was nothing problematic or unusual about Firland’s relationship with the city.
“I would say they communicated well with the city in the few years that I was able to work with their president (and owner), Jim Cain,” she said.
In submitting proposals to operate the arena, applicants were required to address certain topics, such as:
• how they will enhance the rink and bring value to the town and town residents;
• their experience in operating an ice rink and/or a general statement of experience in operating recreational, retail or commercial activities;
• how they will fund rink operations;
• Create a five-year budget plan, including projected operating costs, net revenues, net income and rental rate.
“I asked people or organizations to contact me with intent. I had five different respondents who were interested after the RFP (request for proposals) came out,” Tabelski said.
“They were offered tours and talks, and they were offered the finances of the previous operator so they could understand how the previous operation was working financially.”
Before coming to council with a recommendation for an operator, the city must review the proposals and score them, she said.
“There are points that we are going to expect from the operators. We want to understand the corporate structure of the respondent – as well as the resumes of those who will operate the rink,” she said. “The other criteria we are looking for is a summary to explain how they will operate the rink.”