Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said the city is working on an agreement to have the Carmel Ice Skadium manage operations for the city’s future outdoor ice skating rink.
Mike Aulby, co-owner of the Carmel Ice Skadium, confirmed that he is in talks to operate the facility for the city. He declined to provide details but said the arrangement could be a win-win for everyone involved.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of the ice rink and the whole area,” he said.
Brainard said the agreement should be a good way to involve a local business and benefit from its expertise in the field.
“They do a good job at the Ice Skadium, and they’re set up well to do a lot of ice league play and this outdoor rink is more for recreational,” Brainard said. “They have experience doing it and that’s the key.”
The contract with the Ice Skadium is still a work in progress, according to the city, and nothing has been signed yet.
Construction on the outdoor rink began at the end of August on the center green, which is the grassy area outside of The Palladium where the Carmel Farmers Market is held on Saturdays. The current state of construction hasn’t forced the market to relocate.
Charles C. Brandt Construction won the construction job with a bid of $4.3 million.
Opening day for the ice skating rink has been scheduled for Nov. 18 to coincide with the city’s Holiday at Center Green. That event includes a holiday lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, live reindeer and other holiday entertainment. Surrounding the ice skating rink will be a traditional German Christkindlmarkt.
Part of the construction includes a chiller machine to keep the ice rink cold for skaters. The chiller will also help cool several buildings, including Carmel City Hall and The Palladium.
Total cost is up to $8 million, which includes the design and the Christkindlmarkt.
There will be a fee to use the ice skating rink, but the pricing structure is still under consideration.
“Those details are not likely to be finalized until the contract is finalized with the management firm,” said Dan McFeely, a spokesman for the city. “We will make sure there are family-friendly options for ice skating and the rental of skates.”
The maximum capacity has not been decided yet. There will be no age requirement at this time. Guests may need to sign a waiver to go on the rink.