OSWEGO, NY – The Port City’s Civic Plaza will be transformed into an outdoor ice rink next month. And, if one councilor has his way, the plaza on the south side of Oswego City Hall just might receive a major facelift in the future.
At the Oct. 11 council meeting, the mayor was authorized to execute a contract with Artificial Ice Events for the rental of the ice rink for the city’s tree lighting event in November.
On Sept. 26, the council authorized the transfer of funds to the Tourism Contracted Services account and to the Youth Bureau’s Materials and Supplies account to cover the cost of additional decorations, rental of an ice rink, and promotion of the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.
“Any activity that draws people downtown is good for the business community as well as the city,” Seventh Ward Councilor Robert Corradino said. “But at the same time, I think we have to be smart about how we spend the taxpayers’ money.
The councilor said he did balk at the additional costs at the last meeting, but added that the cost has been reduced by about $1,500 making the price tag more palatable.
“I think we should use this as an opportunity, to be honest with you, to maybe look at the direction we can go in the short-term and long-term. We shouldn’t just have this event and pay the money for this ice rink and not do something,” he said.
He’d like to see data on how many people attended the holiday event and how many came down just for the ice rink.
Between now and next year, he’d like to see the city seek support from some local businesses support this … “somebody step up and maybe offset some of the costs.”
“To me, that’s a short-term goal. A long-term goal, wouldn’t it be smarter than to spend $5,000, why not take that (money) and reconfigure, and repurpose our plaza. It’s a beautiful plaza. But it has one function. Why not see, and this isn’t going to be done tomorrow, see if we can find some funds, repurpose the plaza into a more functioning plaza, one that can be used multi-seasonal. A fountain in the summer time. A skating rink in the winter time. That way we get more bang for our buck. Of course, there would be costs associated with that,” he said.
He proposes hiring (young) temporary workers to man the rink. The money the city is spending to rent a rink could be used as the operating budget for a rink in the future, he said.
“Why not take this plaza and repurpose it; something we could use as a draw in downtown?” he said. “It could possibly be home to small, three-on-three hockey tournaments.”
For the holiday tree lighting and expo, the rink will be located at the West Second Street side of City Hall.
There will be skating from noon to 10 p.m.
The event will run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Nov. 26 with a variety of activities.