Council candidates' stance on the ice arena

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Gazette Staff
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The big issue this year has been the ice arena, and it's a complicated one. The latest proposal is to build a new arena with a mix of private and city money and then cede the ownership to the local hockey club. Several of you have voted against extending the deadline for the private group to raise money. Should the city give the ownership of a public facility to a private group and under what circumstances would you consider such an action?
Briarmoon: The big issue this year is not the ice arena, it is the loss of over 7,000 jobs, the termination of GM benefits, the exodus of 700 additional families and three to four pages of home foreclosures in a single issue of the paper that is eroding our tax base. Two options are: 1. Put the ice arena question to referendum. 2. Close the ice arena we have and use it as a homeless shelter and/or storage for personal belongings of families who have lost their homes.
Hoppenjan: Remodel the current arena. Keep it under city management.
McDonald: Issues surrounding the ice arena have been complex and constantly evolving. The opportunity for Janesville to be relieved of the burdens, pressures and financial strains of owning an ice arena is something that should be carefully considered. It is too early in the process to know whether it makes sense for the city to give up ownership and control. There are dozens of questions that need to be answered. I highly doubt it will be feasible, prudent, cost effective or in the best interests of all citizens and taxpayers of Janesville for the city to give up ownership of the ice arena. But again, there are many questions yet to be answered.
Rashkin: At first, I thought that turning over the ice arena to a private group had a lot of potential since a similar plan worked very well with the Janesville Performing Arts Center.  However, many questions have emerged. What, for example, would happen if a private group takes over the rink and loses money, just like the city does? Will it want the city to take back control of arena operations? This and other important questions have to be answered before a decision is made.
Voskuil: We need to look at all options as we review transferring the ownership of a public facility to a private group. We need to review all financial aspects of the project, assure accessibility for all user groups and ensure the project is a win-win for the citizens of Janesville. At this time, I do not believe we have enough information to determine whether or not the city should retain ownership.

Last updated: 1:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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