Apr 09, 2013 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Lysander Supervisor John Salisbury for coffee and breakfast. We met at the Cottage Restaurant in Baldwinsville, and talked about the many things happening within the town.
The supervisor told me how the Lysander Valentine’s Day Dance was sold out again this year and organizers are looking for a new venue next year because the event has become so popular. He also wanted residents to know the old park offices in Lysander Park are now available for residents to rent for birthday parties and family reunions (call 635-5999).
I asked him about one of my favorite projects, which are the proposed trails throughout greater Baldwinsville, and he said, unfortunately, that there currently wasn’t any money to build trails that had been discussed in the past, but perhaps it would be possible down the road.
Our major topic of discussion was the Lysander Ice Rink, a facility whose history I previously knew little about.
According to Salisbury, a committee was formed last year to review the historical facts regarding the ice rink. The following is what the committee found:
First proposed in 1989, the town board adopted a resolution to build an ice rink at the present location in April 1990 for $2,640,000 (paid for with bonds with the Town of Lysander as guarantor). In 1991, the rink started to experience a downturn in its operation and the original borrower defaulted on making the bond payments. As the guarantor of the loan, the town made payments totaling $553,873 from 1992 to 1994. In December of 1994, the town stopped making payments on the original bond issue, which adversely affected the town’s credit rating and resulting in an increase in interest rates for future borrowings.
The town ceased operation of the rink in 1995. E. A. Moors & Co. bought the Certificates of Participation and eventually sold them to the American Hockey, who subsequently built a second rink, but then defaulted on their payments. The rink was closed in July 2002.
The YMCA approached town officials in 2002 to have the town of Lysander buy the building and lease it to the YMCA for Y programs. In September of 2002, a permissive referendum was approved by the voters. The proposition approved the issuance of $850,000 of Serial Bonds for the town’s acquisition of the Lysander-Radisson Community Arena. The actual amount borrowed was $620,000. The Y subleased the rink side of the facility to the Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena group, a not-for-profit.
Through the end of the bond payments, which will occur in 2023, the town will have spent a total of $1,824,367.35 on the ice arena ($553,873 on the first purchase and $1,270,494.35on the second purchase).
The YMCA and GBIA have made improvements to each of their respective areas. The Y also contributed $49,385 of the total $231,609.17 in back taxes (owed to the county after the loan defaulted in 1992); the town took responsibility for the remaining portion of the taxes totaling $182,224.44, which is included in the total amount spent by the town on the ice arena.
There are 13 years including 2013 left on the lease with the YMCA and the YMCA’s sub-lease to the GBIA. In the first 10 years of the lease, the town has received approximately $27,000 in rental fees. In addition, the lessee is responsible for maintenance and all other facility expenses. The utility costs are paid by the GBIA and the YMCA pays them $700 per month for the Y’s estimated portion of the utilities.
Salisbury said the leases with the Baldwinsville Y and the Y’s sublease with the GBIA are “terrible leases.”
Earlier this year, the town hired an ice rink expert (Davis Mechanical Service, Inc.) to do an in-depth review of the rink and building to help the board determine the rink’s future.
“I’m not against having an ice rink; I’m against us not receiving rent,” Salisbury said. “We have had meetings with both [the YMCA and the GBIA] and each group has been offered the opportunity to purchase the ice rink.”
Salisbury said he anticipates having a full report on the condition of the ice rink by the fall after a professional is able to evaluate the condition of the floor, which contains the ice making capabilities of the rink.
Salisbury closed our meeting by remarking about Al Yaeger, the town’s relatively new in-house engineer.
“Al is such an asset to this town,” he said, noting numerous projects the engineer has worked on since coming on board last year.
Stay tuned to the Messenger to learn about the next coffee hour with Supervisor John Salisbury.