NIAGARA FALLS – Mayor Paul A. Dyster’s administration has changed short-term plans for repairs to one of the rinks at Hyde Park Ice Pavilion, a move that appeared to irk city lawmakers Monday.
Instead of making an emergency repair to pipes at the facility, ice at the rink will be built up starting in July to be ready for the season to start in August, Dyster told the City Council.
Crews will “closely monitor” the decades-old ice-creation system for any leaks and be ready to go in to make repairs, the mayor said.
The move follows a recent approval by the Council of a plan to make the repairs before leagues begin play in the fall.
Dyster said the change came after talks with Rink Specialists, the city’s consultants for ice pavilion work, as well as the operator of the rink.
The needed work, if done now, would not be completed in time for fall leagues to start, which would endanger them for the entire season, Dyster said.
The mayor said the plan is to try to “avoid disruption” for rink users.
Councilman Sam Fruscione questioned the move, saying he believes any problems that prevent the rink ice surfaces from forming could cost the city $20,000 a month in revenue.
“It seems like we’re asking for trouble,” Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti said.
Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian said he felt kind of “left in the dark” about the plans.
Consultants and officials with refrigeration contractor Mollenberg-Betz believe that if an issue develops, it is more likely to happen to pipes in a location that can be fixed more easily, rather than something underneath the ice, Dyster said.
In other Council matters, lawmakers:
• Agreed to allow a closed section of Whirlpool Street north of the Aquarium of Niagara, as well as DeFranco Park, to be used for supplemental parking for the Gorge Discovery Center, the Aquarium and construction workers employed on the Maid of the Mist dock project in the Niagara Gorge.
• Approved a two-year contract extension between the city and Giusiana Architects and Engineers for architectural services for the Community Development department’s façade grant program.
The maximum amount to be paid under the extension, which runs through May 31, 2015, is $22,000.