Ice rink purchase motion passes at Hope Advertising and Tourism Promotion Commission special meeting

Ice-skating appears to be coming to Hope this winter thanks to an afternoon vote during a special meeting of the city’s Advertising and Tourism Promotion Commission.

Though the members raised questions about such matters as fencing around the rink, the number of labor hours by Parks and Recreation workers and the costs of a plywood layer under the rink necessary for long-term use, the commission ultimately decided the $20,000 price for the rink and 200 skates was too good to pass up.

Due to the possibility of another buyer, the commission had attempted to meet by Zoom this morning at 10 a.m. but the absence of a quorum decided another attempt would take place starting at 3:30 pm.  Once a quorum was reached, discussion began, with Chairperson Sharon Caldwell fielding questions. Caldwell was the contact person with Alex Wilfand of Ice Creative Entertainment, which has offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Orlando.

In the regular meeting Tuesday afternoon, the possibility was raised of University of Arkansas-Hope Texarkana partially funding the sale and using the rink in the first two weeks of December, but Caldwell notified the commission that UAHT’s John Gladden, Assistant Director at Hempstead could not make a decision until his budget picture was clearer.  

In contrast, as member Steve Montgomery said, the city’s budget could accommodate the buy since a special projects fund currently stands at about $80,000. Montgomery and other members also observed that the city could offer the rink to the University to rent and that, together with what would be charged to skaters, this would help the rink earn its costs.

Both Mayor Don Still and Caldwell said during the meeting they had heard expressions of excitement about the rink from citizens. One woman overhearing Caldwell on the phone about the possible rink deal said, “Are you going to buy the ice rink? Please tell me you are. I’ve always dreamed of being an ice skater.”

It’s likely now she’ll get her wish.

Voting for the motion to purchase were members Sharon Caldwell, Don Still, Charlton Luker, Steve Montgomery and Milko Smith.

From the fact sheet shown to the commission by its secretary and Parks Superintendent Summer Powell:

  • “Price:  $15,000 rink only; $20,000 Rink and Skates
  • This rink is brand new, never used.   If we ordered a rink this size it would be $65,000.  
  • Dimensions:  Base- 32ft long x 22ft wide (base). Can go up to 40ft x 28ft .
  • Life Expectancy: 20 years total (10 on each side).
  • 200 Skates included with $20,000 purchase.  Skates are 3 years old and only been used 3 times.  Skates have an ‘unlimited’ life expectancy, depending on usage.”

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