#THINKRINK! We won, the city decided it was too expensive, for now...

#THINKRINK! We won, the city decided it was too expensive, for now...

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John Utsey started this petition to Mayor Mayor Alan Weber

We Won, but please continue to sign so we can let you know if the city tries this again.

THINK RINK!  The Santa Fe Skating Community Depends on the GCCC Ice Rink. This includes the general population of Santa Fe that comes to public skate, week in and week out.

The Genoveva Chavez Community Center (GCCC) ice rink serves children & adults from across northern New Mexico for figure skating, ice hockey, curling, adult hockey & recreation. Thousands of Santafeans take to the GCCC ice each year to learn to figure skate and play hockey. The ice is a piece of essential equipment for use during their skating & hockey season. And while hundreds of kids’ skates touch the ice competitively from October to March, hundreds more children come regularly to skate recreationally, the rink is a winter playground for those escaping the cold and wind. 

The ice rink is home to a very strong skating community made up of youth, girls, and adult hockey, a skating club and an adult curling club. Each of these programs is supported by thousands of volunteer hours by parents, and board members.   Moreover these programs are led by experienced professional coaches and games/events are overseen by experienced referees. 

The Santa Fe Hockey Association teaches boys and girls ages 7 to 18 foundational hockey skills as well as strong life skills such as responsibility, respect, integrity, perseverance and teamwork.  Teams include ages 8 and under (Mites), 10 and under (Squirts), 12 and under (PeeWee), 14 and under (Bantam) and High School Junior Varsity and Varsity.  More than 90 young hockey players practice twice a week and play games on Saturdays.  Players are proud to represent Santa Fe in competitions across northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.  The Santa Fe Hockey Association pays fees to the Genoveva Chavez Center totalling $10,000 per month during the season. 

The New Mexico Mustangs is an all girls hockey association, which develops players ages 5 through 19 with no experience or limited experience.  Players practice in Santa Fe on a weekly basis and host or travel to games every weekend in New Mexico, Colorado, and across the United States.

Santa Fe Skating Club has 83 club members of all ages and skating abilities. So far this season ( 2022-23), they have had 112 skaters in their Learn to Skate program. Since 2017, the Santa Fe Skating Club has taught over 500 Santa Feans how to skate. The Santa Fe Skating Club pays for approximately 80 hours of ice per year at a cost of approximately $15,000. 

The Adult Hockey league has 4 teams and 52 active skaters.  The league plays twice a week starting at 9pm (at the conclusion of youth programs).  The fall and winter leagues run 8 weeks each, while spring and summer leagues run 14 weeks each. The Fall and Winter leagues are shorter to make sure kids have sufficient playing time.  The Fall and winter seasons are made up of 4 teams with 13 players each or 52 active skaters.  There is an active goalie group of 10 who also rotate into these games two at a time.  The Spring and Summer leagues are made up of 3 divisions based on skill level.  Each division has 4 teams of 12 skaters (48 per division and 144 total skaters)  Players in the league come from Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Los Alamos, Taos and everywhere in between. 

The Arizona Coyotes NHL team sponsored a Learn to Play program on weekends in Santa Fe between January and February of 2022. They also sponsored the program in 2021.   Santa Fe is the only city in New Mexico to host this national 6 week program, which brings youth from across the region. 

The GCCC ice arena is the ONLY ice rink in Santa Fe and is recognized by other teams as one of the best purpose-built ice rinks in the region.  The rink is scheduled with programs and events from open to close.  

Every weekend during the winter sports season, youth and families travel from across the state to come to the Genoveva Chavez Center for competitions.  Teams come from Durango, El Paso, Los Alamos, Taos, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and other communities.  Families visit our restaurants, visit our shops, visit our attractions, and often stay overnight providing important lodgers tax to the city of Santa Fe.  Hockey and Skating tournaments bring even more tax revenue to the city.

"The City of Santa Fe and Major Arena Soccer League 2 Announce Leasing of Ice Rink" 

A local businessman is proposing to convert the GCCC ice rink for six weekends between January and March as a part of declaring new ownership of a semi-professional Major Arena Soccer team. His proposal, to use the Genoveva Chavez Community Center ice rink as an indoor soccer field will eliminate essential weekend access to the ice for figure skaters and hockey players, effectively ending their ability to have a competitive season, as they will be unable to schedule the ice time necessary to build skills, host required league games, and practice. The rink will also be closed for the hundreds who use it for recreation on weekends. 

Additionally, it appears the soccer team owner is trying to get the city to subsidize the costs of this business enterprise.  His proposal to use the GCCC ice rink as an indoor soccer arena will require hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars to buy, install, and store decking. The conversion will require very significant hours of paid City staff time or additional contractor time.  Should the city purchase such materials for conversion for the sole benefit of the private soccer team, it likely violates the state anti-donation clause, which prevents public dollars to be used to benefit a private company.  Such a purchase would also require approval by the Santa Fe city council as required by city procurement code. 

There is no evidence that the City will receive a return on investment on this taxpayer expenditure, as the soccer team's use proposal lacks information about rental agreements, ticket sales and the cost of other necessary staffing & capital expenditures.   Given the fact that only a few years ago, a similar Major Arena Soccer team went bankrupt in Santa Fe, the City must conduct proper due diligence on the proposed enterprise.   

While the for-profit soccer club owner claims publicly that he strives to serve the families and children of Santa Fe, his proposal effectively eliminates access to the ice arena for hundreds of kids on the weekends, time already too limited for the purposes of figure skating and hockey club use. 

We do not believe that the city should prioritize for-profit adult professional sports over amateur youth sports.  Santa Fe does not have enough youth activities.  Ice sports like hockey and figure skating appeal to a lot of youth in our community and through active positive coaching, youth learn new skills of sportsmanship, health, self-discipline and have a healthy outlet in their lives.  Prioritizing professional sports over amateur sports runs in direct contradiction to the purpose of the Genoveva Chavez Center’s mission and the taxing authority granted by the public at the time of voting for the bond to create the center. 

We believe our elected officials have been under informed and misled about this proposal. The soccer team owner has misrepresented the skating community's alleged support of his plan and failed to gain a basic understanding of the devastation his proposal will cause for our youth programs. 

We know that the GCCC center ice rink is the only ice rink in Santa Fe, unlike sports like swimming, soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, pickleball, football and golf, which enjoy numerous community and school facilities. Shutting the ice rink down every Saturday for six weeks between January and March would be the equivalent of shutting down for public use every basketball court in Santa Fe every Saturday for six weeks in the winter, shutting down every baseball field or swimming pool every Saturday for six weeks in the spring/summer season, shutting down every football field and soccer field every Saturday for six weeks in the fall.   

Furthermore, the City of Santa Fe staff has acted prematurely making public statements of support for a proposal not yet approved by City Council. The soccer club owner and City staff have misrepresented community support for this project, particularly the support of the skating community. 

We need to speak up. We need to be the voice for our skaters, hockey players and youth across the area. We cannot afford to lose this invaluable resource, even for a few weekends of winter. It simply will not work and our youth skating and hockey programs, our kids, will suffer as a result of this poorly planned initiative. 

Please help us tell our elected officials - we need our ice rink for skating and our community. 

We need to prioritize amateur youth sports over for-profit professional sports.

We need to protect important skating programs that invest in our youth, build life skills and give them healthy outlets for exercise and learning.

We need to keep taxpayer dollars investing into youth and our community, and keep supporting successful programming. 

We say NO to converting the Genoveva Chavez Center Ice Rink for professional soccer 

Our Statement:  

I support prioritizing youth sports over for-profit professional sports.  I support continued full public and community use of the Genoveva Chavez Community Center Ice Rink as approved by voters.  I believe the city needs to keep investing in youth activities and programming and not subsidizing professional sports.   I do NOT support repurposing the Genoveva Chavez Community Center Ice Rink to benefit the for-profit Major Arena Soccer League 2 team and effectively eliminating youth hockey and skating in Santa Fe.  


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