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Season Ends at Wrigley Ice Rink, Future Remains Uncertain

The Rink at Wrigley closed its gates for the season on Feb. 28, and it may not return next year.

Over 12,000 people this winter visited the ice rink, which was located for the first time this winter on the northwest parking lot of Wrigley Field, according to Chicago Park District spokeswoman Monique Lehman.

“Compared to last winter’s 10,623 patrons (who visited) Midway Plaisance Ice Rink on 59th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, the Wrigley ice rink was competitive,” Lehman said.

But, Lehman said, the Wrigley rink did not produce as much money as hoped for the park district, returning only about $72,000 of a $300,000 investment by funders. This leaves organizers unsure whether the rink will return next winter.

If the rink had generated excess revenue , it would be used to fund its reopening. But the rink did not meet that mark, said Max Bever, community outreach director for Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), who is also a funder for the rink.

“The rink was an experiment,” said Bever. “It’s possible that it may open up next year, but its depends on funds.”

Using outside funders is not unusual for the park district; most district projects rely on state funds, aldermen’s menu money and/or private sponsors, Lehman said.

Other rink sponsors included the Ricketts family, the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago, Westrec Marinas, the Blackhawks, McDonald’s, Harey Carey’s and the Central Lakeview Merchants Association.

Sponsors and organizers met on Nov. 9 to lay out plans for the rink. Their money, along with funds from the park district, covered the expenses. Westrec Marinas built the rink, which opened Dec. 19.

Kevin Jericho’s family of three visited the rink around five times this winter, but he thought it was pricey.

“I thought it was expensive.” said the Lakeview resident. “So we brought our own skates and season passes.”

Admission to the rink was $10 for adults and $6 for children, plus an additional fee for skate rentals. All proceeds helped offset the city’s costs — about $100,000, said Lehman.

Whether the rink will reopen next winter depends largely on the community’s response and support. To voice your opinion, contact Ald. Tunney’s office at 773-525-6034 or via email at ward44@cityofchicago.org, Bever said.

“The park (district’s) efforts alone wouldn’t make it happen again, ” said Lehman. “It would require community effort.”

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Posted by on February 28, 2010. Filed under Today's Talk, What's Up. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.