I attended the City Council meeting (July 14) and, after public participation for agendized items, the council proceeded to hold a closed session to discuss two items, one of which is the property known as Ice Station Valencia at 27745 Smyth Drive. The closed session was to discuss price and terms of payment. This is the part of the closed session this letter is about.
Several speakers, I believe, during the public participation time were concerned as to why the council had not had an open meeting to discuss the issue of purchasing the rink prior to the closed session that was to discuss price and terms of payment. I was also mystified about this.
Currently, the city of Santa Clarita’s unemployment rate is 20%, according to The Signal’s May 26 report. I question why, at this time of economic hardship, when many of our fellow citizens are experiencing hardship, it is wise for the city to purchase this property or to enter into any binding agreement concerning Ice Station Valencia?
I feel that the potential for an undue burden upon Santa Clarita taxpayers seems especially unwarranted at this time.
Why would the city enter into an agreement to purchase or otherwise handle Ice Station Valencia’s business when the current owner is unable to successfully operate the rink? How does the city plan to make the rink a success? Why would the city enter into an agreement for a business that must adhere to state lockdown guidelines, thus limiting revenue? An open City Council meeting would help answer these questions.
If the city has available funds, I would suggest that landlord/tenant issues, homelessness and food insecurity issues be given assistance.
Approximately 25,000 signatures were received by the council stating their support for the city to acquire the rink, I believe. (Out of a city of more than 210,000, this number does not appear to be the majority.) Many of the speakers stated how much their children needed and benefited from the rink’s programs.
I, too, love sports programs and believe teamwork and self-esteem are only two of the many benefits that result from youths’ participation. I also believe, however, this is a time we must be wise and take thoughtful care in how we provide for ALL of us.