Please change the Management (Genesis) of the Wichita Ice Center

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Please change the Management (Genesis) of the Wichita Ice Center

This petition made change with 3,785 supporters!
John Ford started this petition to Wichita City Counsel and

Genesis was selected to manage the rink by the City of Wichita in 2011 and given a contract of ten (10) years with the option for one (1) renewal of five (5) years. Since that time, the overall opinion of many that use the rink on a weekly basis as well as those that have dealings with the Wichita Ice Center (WIC) including vendors, suppliers, service providers (Kansas Hockey Officials Association), organizations (Wichita Youth Hockey Association, Wichita Adult Hockey Association, Wichita Figure Skaters) and even utility providers have not been pleased with way the location is managed, maintained, and utilized. The City of Wichita has a contract negotiation which would effectively change the current contract (in ways we have not become familiar with yet) on August 1. We would request that the City abstain from approving this without first listening to, and considering the thoughts and opinions of the large community of skaters, players, parents and fans that use the facility.
Genesis promised many items with the management of the WIC and has since provided very few, if any, to the greater community of those that use the facility for skating purposes. They (Genesis) dumped a majority of the improvement funds provided by the City's original bond of $750,000 into creating a new Gym facility for their members only. The entire upstairs of the WIC was renovated with a brand new Genesis Fitness Center which is now, per the city contract, a 100% profit center for Genesis because all the utilities (rent, water, electric, heat, etc) are paid for by the city and tax payers with accessibility only to those with Genesis Fitness memberships. The ice rinks saw little to no improvements. Per the original bond, the money given to Genesis should have been, at least in part, used repair and improve the ice rinks, which Mr. Stevens had promised the city, the rink staff, and the community would be done.

The ice rinks have seen little to no improvements in the last nine (9) years of Genesis managing the facility. The time clocks/scoreboards have not been maintained/upgraded, and what has been repaired is hardly functioning at this point. The south rink, known as the NHL ice, has two scoreboards, one of which has not been turned on or used in decades. The north rink, known as the Olympic ice, has a jumbo-tron with only one functioning side a majority of the time. Also, the time clock computers are falling apart with fraying wires, plugs that don't stay in the outlet, and malfunctions that occur so regularly that players have begun to think it's normal. The Zamboni's that maintain the ice are original to the rink and have been poorly maintained with one of the two often not running, thus leaving one Zamboni to surface both sheets of ice. The locker rooms for the ice have remained unchanged since the facility was built with rotting wood benches, barely functioning bathrooms/showers, and rubber floor mats that are falling apart. The glass around the rink has, at times, been replaced with plywood for months on end. The players benches have rotted so much that they aren't even bolted to the floor in places anymore. Boards around the rink have been damaged and worn with little to no repair and when repairs are done they are cheap and don't last. Cleaning of the facility is primarily focused on the fitness facility with little attention being provided to the rest of the more publicly used facility. The maintenance and upkeep of our ice rinks pale in comparison to any of the surrounding rinks and facilities.

Every year, the WIC holds its annual RiverFest Hockey Tournament, which coincides with the two weekends of the Wichita RiverFest. This event has brought in many of the local teams as well as teams from surrounding areas, such as Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado, Oklahoma and even Texas. This is a huge social event that also brings in a lot of fans from the area, as well as a large amount revenue for the rink. However, in the past few years this event has trended towards becoming a Genesis Fitness social gathering.

Parking has been allocated to members of the Fitness Center during these events leaving those coming from far away (paying good money) to struggle to find any parking for paid for/scheduled games. Genesis had also started charging the public for parking, allowing the general public to take over the lot, decreasing parking availability even more for the hockey players. This tournament is a great opportunity for people outside of Wichita to come and visit and see what a great city we have, but instead it is dominated by Genesis Fitness. Many of the Wichita hockey players travel to other tournaments throughout the year, i.e. to Kansas City, Dallas, Oklahoma, and the welcoming we receive in these other cities is far greater than what is seen here. In these other cities, we see rinks that take care of their players and skaters, well- maintained rinks, and ice-focused facilities.

The Wichita ice center is used year-round by adults part of the Wichita Adult Hockey League (WAHL) with games throughout the week, as well as the children and parents of the Wichita Youth Hockey Association (WYHA) with games and practices throughout the week. The ice is also rented privately by members of the community to hold pick-up hockey games.

These leagues are supported by the Kansas Hockey Officials Association (KHOA), which has had numerous negative experiences with Genesis including refusing services due to 2+ months of outstanding bills totaling over $10,000. The fees for these services from the KHOA are paid for by the players in the WAHL at the beginning of the season. It is included in the league fees. In early 2019, after three (3) months of not paying the KHOA, it took a strike and getting the news media involved before Genesis agreed to pay the outstanding bills.

The WIC Pro Shop cannot carry player equipment very much anymore, due to the fact that Genesis has not paid vendors and outfitters, such as Bauer, CCM, and Easton. These vendors have chosen to no longer do business with the WIC, which greatly affects the skating and hockey community as well. Players would rather be able to spend their hard-earned money in the Pro Shop, and support the local community, and unfortunately, that’s not possible. Along with that, there is a vibrant, growing number of kids ranging from 4 up to 17 years old, both boys and girls, that have the desire to skate, to play, to learn, and be a part of these great activities in our city, but are stifled due to management and lack of support available.

The WIC, since the management change to Genesis, has since seen four (4) general managers come and go, along with a great hockey director who was with the WIC for over 15 years. The latest GM was an original supporter to the opening of the rink back in 1995 and had great passion to bringing back the passion that we all have a the WIC.

We as a community will do whatever it takes to see our WIC thrive again under the proper management. All those that have signed below would like you to PLEASE consider abstaining from modifying any current contract as well as reviewing alternate management companies/entities to manage the WIC. We know this can both bring a much better profit to the city of Wichita as well as provide an upstanding image for public skating, figure skating, adult hockey, youth hockey, and many other functions that the Wichita Ice Center can provide in the heart of downtown Wichita Kansas!

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