By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette — Repairs on the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion will be held up for at least one more week.
The Niagara Falls City Council canceled a special meeting scheduled for Monday evening where a vote was to be held on a measure that will allow Mayor Paul Dyster’s administration to execute a deal with Rink Specialists, an engineering firm that specializes in ice rinks, for consulting services on repairs to rink 1 at the city-owned building. City officials fear that if the rink is not repaired this summer the 42-year-old ice pad would likely break down and need work in the middle of next season, which would prove disastrous for rink operators Niagara Sports Tournament.
The meeting was cancelled because of personal circumstances for one of the council members and the matter will be revisited at the regularly scheduled council meeting next Monday.
Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti stressed the importance of coming to a conclusion quickly during the April 1 meeting.
If the rink is not up and running by next fall the rink operators would lose out, as well as local restaurants and hotels, she said.
“It’s not just about the ice rink,” Grandinetti said. “It’s about the economic impact on this community.”
The council’s decision on the rink repairs became more complicated after Thermo Source, an energy resource firm that specializes in geothermal technology, gave a presentation on their ice rink systems at the April 1 meeting where the council was scheduled to vote on the resolution to award the $85,000 consulting contract to Rink Specialists.
Thermo Source representatives told the council that the company can save the city up to 50 percent on energy costs with their geothermal technology and that they have a payment system that would allow the city to have their equipment installed and rink repairs performed without putting any money forth up front. The city could then use its cost savings on energy bills to repay the company.
The council voted to table the resolution to further explore the geothermal technology.
But the council will need to move forward with a decision soon in order to ensure that the repairs — regardless of who performs them — are finished in time for the next hockey season.
Gene Carella, the owner of Niagara Sports Tournament, said he is comfortable with whatever choice the city makes, so long as the rinks open in time for next hockey season.
“We want that rink open in mid-August if we can possibly do it,” he said. “That’s when our customers are going to be coming back and that’s when the hockey season is going to start.”Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2252