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Ice Rink Deal Passes Unanimously

Belmar's governing body approves lease agreement

The Belmar Borough Council and mayor on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement between the borough and a private firm that wants at Dempsey Park. 

The 6-0 vote approved the agreement with nonprofit New Jersey Titans Hockey Club, which would pay $24,000 in annual rent to operate the rink on borough property. The nonprofit would also assume all costs of construction, maintenance, staffing and insurance,  (attached to the PDF section of this story). 

The terms of the lease are for one year, with an additional four-year option at the end of the term, which repeats every four years. During each interval either the borough or the nonprofit can terminate the deal, according to the agreement. 

George Haviland Jr., of Wall-based Ice World Consulting, LLC, runs the nonprofit as well as several ice skating rinks across the country — including one in Farmingdale (Howell Ice World). He has said the Belmar rink would run as a nonprofit entity and provide discounted rates to borough residents.

"I look at it as an opportunity to give kids and adults as well the chance to learn how to ice skate and maybe learn to to play hockey and be a figure skater as well," Haviland said last month during a presentation to the governing body.  

The rink would be placed where the skate park at Dempsey Park along 16th Avenue currently exists.

The skate park equipment would be moved to the opposite end of the park and managed by hockey club staff, officials have said. Currently the skate park is not managed by anyone. 

The proposed rink is 160-feet by 60-feet, smaller than an NHL-sized ice surface, which run 200-feet by 80-feet. Haviland has said the proposed rink would fit up to 350 skaters during a public skating session. 

He also plans to decorate the area with Christmas trees, creating a "Rockefeller Center" atmosphere at the park. 

And since he can maintain ice when the weather is as warm as 70-degrees, Haviland has said he envisions the rink could be open from mid-November to mid-March. 

"I understand the community's need for activity in the winter months," Haviland said. "My plan really is for it to be for the community and the shoreline to have something a little bit unique that most towns don't offer." 

Officials have said they are also looking for a way to turn the facility into a roller rink for the summer months. 

While Haviland has said the cost-analysis is still forthcoming, he envisions borough residents would likely be charged $3 to skate and $3 to rent skates — the township price at his firm's Massachussetts rink.

The industry standard is $8 to skate and $4 to rent, but borough residents would definitely pay less that that, he has said. 

Haviland has said the rink could be up and running within three weeks of borough approval. But with mid-August heat still soaring, residents may have to wait a bit longer before they lace up their skates this year. 

Beryl Cusic August 16, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Well., just ask Avon how much business was brought to Avon with the rink, And no, since the rink is not actually that close to downtown, in fact bordering Lake Como, I still do not see what is being done to attract new business. And just so there is no question, my family has been in the boro for 47 years...
EC August 16, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I can't wait to lace up. One more reason to love Belmar!
BeachLover70 August 17, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Will the basketball courts remain? Also, what about parking? With 16th being the main thoroughfare, current curbside parking won't be sufficient. How about the empty space where the ACME was behind the train station? Has ample parking, too!
kelly August 17, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I am excited to have something for my daughter to do in town during the winter. I love my town in the winter when its all locals! I will walk down every weekend to skate!
Richard Brand August 20, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I also think it is a great Idea. I have lived here for over 50 years and miss skating and playing Ice Hockey on silver lake in the winters, or even the fishing contest along the lake. There is not enough activities in town to keep the younger kids occupied. When I was a kid we had miniature golf at 16th and Ocean, Play land (14th and Ocean), 8th ave Arcade, Shore land (1st and Ocean). What do the kids have today? We should all be supportive and give it a chance. No cost to the tax payer. Main st does need a face lift. Lets hope our local officials continue in that path which should bring interest in merchants and hopefully shoppers.


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