Rink Utility And Popularity Trumps Golf Course, But Not Investment 

Los Alamos Derby Dame
IRRAS Member 
Public Ice Skater 
Parent of a former LA Hockey player

Over recent years it has become clear that our season is shorter,  weather less predictable. The LA Ice Rink has seen an increase in public  skating as other winter sports have become less available due to  variable seasons. The ice rink is the only venue that we have any control  over its availability to provide reliable ice for hockey and other family  winter activities.  

As for summer sports the rink is a great venue that is not currently being  utilized as it should be. Open air shade would protect roller derby  players from the sun and rain. Many times we have to cancel practice  due to excessive water on the skate surface which can take many hours  to dry. We currently have youth and adult roller derby teams, but can  expand to stickball, roller hockey, and more family events such as roller  skating nights that were hugely successful and could happen much  more frequently especially if the impacts of weather could be removed  for summer evening events. 

In the twenty years I have lived here I have seen significant  improvements in our community. However, there are examples of vastly  dissimilar capital investments for venues that have similar usage in the  community. The ice rink has higher popularity relative to the golf course  according to the recent Community Poll, but it has had significantly less  capital investment. Over the last 20 years the golf course has received  $8,349,548.00 vs ice rinkʼs $3,792,694.00, which is a factor of two less  capital investment for the ice rink. This $4.5M difference is more than  enough to pay for a desperately needed upgraded rink, which is  required to extend the rinks usage and reliability during winter and  summer. Recently it has been proposed a further investment for the  golf course of roughly another four million dollars, which would bring the  total to more than eight million dollar investment over the ice rink. Given  the similar popularity and importance of the ice rink relative to the golf  course, this is a large discrepancy. 

In order for the ice rink to continue to serve the community it needs upgrades such as replacement of the crumbling concrete pad, a multi zone cooling system and chiller units replacement (they are at the end  of their service life), open air shade to extend the season, and  addressing parking and safety issues due to high usage. We cannot wait  six years for these important upgrades and maintenance that should be  implemented as soon as possible. This will benefit the ever increasing  popular public skating, school field trips, hockey, provide sunshade for  outdoor summer sports such as youth and adult roller derby, and family  events such as roller skating.  

For decades we have asked for some sort of retractable cover to  improve conditions for ice hockey and roller derby. As a side benefit this  would enable more tournaments thereby increasing revenue to the  county. Now more than ever we just need something to get proper  usage of the ice rink through a shortening winter. I would ask our County  Parks and Recreation Board and Council Members to consider making  the desperately needed ice rink upgrade a priority.  

I would also encourage the public, Los Alamos Hockey Association, Los  Alamos Derby Dames, Los Alamos Cherry Bombs, figure skaters, and  local communities to speak up. Write to the Los Alamos Reporter, Los  Alamos Daily Post, Social Media and/or a quick email to Council  Members CountyCouncil@lacnm.us and our Parks and Recreation Board prb@lacnm.us how important and fun our truly unique ice rink in New  Mexico is to you and our community.  

Los Alamos County invites the community for a discussion on capital  improvement projects (CIP) to inform for the fiscal year 2024 budget  preparation.  

Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 1000 Central  Ave., Los Alamos 

Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at White Rock Fire Station #3, 129 NM  4, White Rock