The Belmar Borough Council and mayor on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement between the borough and a private firm that wants at Dempsey Park.
The 6-0 vote approved the agreement with nonprofit New Jersey Titans Hockey Club, which would pay $24,000 in annual rent to operate the rink on borough property. The nonprofit would also assume all costs of construction, maintenance, staffing and insurance, (attached to the PDF section of this story).
The terms of the lease are for one year, with an additional four-year option at the end of the term, which repeats every four years. During each interval either the borough or the nonprofit can terminate the deal, according to the agreement.
George Haviland Jr., of Wall-based Ice World Consulting, LLC, runs the nonprofit as well as several ice skating rinks across the country — including one in Farmingdale (Howell Ice World). He has said the Belmar rink would run as a nonprofit entity and provide discounted rates to borough residents.
"I look at it as an opportunity to give kids and adults as well the chance to learn how to ice skate and maybe learn to to play hockey and be a figure skater as well," Haviland said last month during a presentation to the governing body.
The rink would be placed where the skate park at Dempsey Park along 16th Avenue currently exists.
The skate park equipment would be moved to the opposite end of the park and managed by hockey club staff, officials have said. Currently the skate park is not managed by anyone.
The proposed rink is 160-feet by 60-feet, smaller than an NHL-sized ice surface, which run 200-feet by 80-feet. Haviland has said the proposed rink would fit up to 350 skaters during a public skating session.
He also plans to decorate the area with Christmas trees, creating a "Rockefeller Center" atmosphere at the park.
And since he can maintain ice when the weather is as warm as 70-degrees, Haviland has said he envisions the rink could be open from mid-November to mid-March.
"I understand the community's need for activity in the winter months," Haviland said. "My plan really is for it to be for the community and the shoreline to have something a little bit unique that most towns don't offer."
Officials have said they are also looking for a way to turn the facility into a roller rink for the summer months.
While Haviland has said the cost-analysis is still forthcoming, he envisions borough residents would likely be charged $3 to skate and $3 to rent skates — the township price at his firm's Massachussetts rink.
The industry standard is $8 to skate and $4 to rent, but borough residents would definitely pay less that that, he has said.
Haviland has said the rink could be up and running within three weeks of borough approval. But with mid-August heat still soaring, residents may have to wait a bit longer before they lace up their skates this year.