Elk Grove is gliding toward getting its first holiday ice skating rink after the city and a private operator agreed on terms to build a temporary outdoor rink in Old Town.
Contract negotiations froze up for about a week, but Rob Porter, owner of Ice Unlimited, signed a contract for building and maintaining the rink.
The rink is planned on a vacant 4.5-acre site along the south side of Elk Grove Boulevard on the east side of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It will open Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, and run through Jan. 21.
The city is in the process of buying the property from Union Pacific. Because of its key location in Old Town, the city will pay about $1 million for the property, including environmental impact reports and title fees.
City officials worked on bringing a temporary holiday ice rink to the Old Town area to attract holiday shoppers and diners and to coincide with the Dickens Street Fair, which draws about 10,000 visitors for food and merchandise vendors the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day.
The rink will cost the city about $155,000. It agreed to pay Ice Unlimited $80,000 upfront for the private operator to build and maintain the rink, and then the city will pay to supply water, garbage and utilities to the property, which could cost as much as $75,000.
Under a revenue-sharing agreement, the city will recoup some of those costs.
Assistant City Manager Becky Craig said the city will also consider setting up concession stands, or selling ads and sponsorships to defray costs.
Porter told the Elk Grove City Council at its Oct. 24 meeting that he projects more than 22,000 skaters will come to the rink during its run.
Some council members were concerned about the contract being lopsided in favor of Ice Unlimited, but the council approved going forward with the rink. Porter, however, declined to sign the contract.
After more talks, Porter and Elk Grove City Manager Laura Gill signed the contract late Friday. City officials said the contract remained substantially the same as the original.
The rink will be open daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and until 1 a.m. on New Year's Day. It will be closed Christmas Day.
Skate rental and admission will be $11 for adults and $9.50 for youths 17 years and younger.