Ganim signs Won­der­land of Ice’s skat­ing rink lease

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - News - By Brian Lock­hart

BRIDGE­PORT — Mayor Joe Ganim has sig­naled his con­fi­dence there is room in the city for more than one ice skat­ing rinks.

Even as his ad­min­is­tra­tion works to help a new skat­ing fa­cil­ity break ground down­town, Ganim fi­nally signed a new 20year- lease be­tween the city and Won­der­land of Ice As­so­ci­ates.

Won­der­land, op­er­ated for nearly three decades by Lisa Fedick, man­ages Bridge­port’s ice skat­ing rinks at 123 Glen­wood Ave.

Fedick’s at­tor­ney, Ray Rizio, said that he re­ceived a copy of the new lease on Wed­nes­day signed by the mayor — nearly two months af­ter it was ap­proved by the City Coun­cil.

The Bridge­port City At­tor­ney’s of­fice also con­firmed it was for­warded a signed copy of the lease.

The Ganim ad­min­is­tra­tion on Sept. 20 an­nounced its sup­port for a $ 12 mil­lion pro­posal from a to- be­formed lim­ited li­a­bil­ity cor­po­ra­tion, Park City Ice Palace, to re­de­velop city­owned land at 1269 Main St. into a “pre­miere hockey and ice skat­ing train­ing fa­cil­ity” with a fit­ness cen­ter, juice bar, cof­fee and sand­wich shops.

Park City Ice Palace’s plans ap­par­ently caught Won­der­land of Ice, Rizio and the City Coun­cil by sur­prise and raised con­cerns about com­pe­ti­tion. Fedick and her team had just agreed to spend $ 500,000 on nu­mer­ous up­grades to the city’s aged Glen­wood Av­enue rinks as part of Won­der­land’s new lease.

“Do we need an­other ice rink?” City Coun­cil­woman Jeanette Her­ron, a cochair­man of the coun­cil’s con­tracts com­mit­tee, said last week. “We went through months of get­ting clar­ity on that con­tract.”

The city and an at­tor­ney for Won­der­land coun­tered there is room for both Won­der­land of Ice and for Park City Ice Palace’s de­vel­op­ment.

Rizio on Thurs­day said he and Won­der­land ex­ec­u­tives re­cently met with Ganim’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment staff to dis­cuss their con­cerns with hav­ing more rinks come to town.

Asked if he and Won­der­land were now more com­fort­able with Park City Ice Palace’s pro­posal, Rizio said, “We be­lieve the city re­ally needs to study this in depth. We’re a ten­ant of the city and I would think the coun­cil would want to make sure a study is done.”

“It’s in the city coun­cil’s hands,” Rizio added.

This is the sec­ond time in a year that the Ganim ad­min­is­tra­tion has rat­tled an ex­ist­ing city ten­ant with a de­vel­op­ment an­nounce­ment.

City Hall and the Sound Tigers, the hockey team that op­er­ates Bridge­port’s Web­ster Bank Arena, have been at odds over Ganim’s al­low­ing de­vel­oper Howard Saf­fan and con­cert pro­moter Live Na­tion to turn the city’s base­ball sta­dium next door into an am­phithe­ater.

The Sound Tigers have charged that the new arena is a vi­o­la­tion of a no- com­pe­ti­tion re­quire­ment in their con­tract with Bridge­port.

Ned Ger­ard / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Yrid­i­anna Bar­rero, of Bridge­port, beats the heat with oth­ers dur­ing an open skate at the Won­der­land of Ice in Bridge­port.

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