Letter: There's more to the figure skating club's story

September 9, 2013 

The Sept. 3 Herald article, "Club skating on thin ice," did not note key details that could assist the community in understanding the challenges the Tri-Cities Figure Skating Club has dealing with the Toyota Arena or why the club is a community asset that might warrant support.

The club has brought revenue to the community during past competitions, national visibility and is a great opportunity for our kids. Tri-Cities revenue during regional and national events has been estimated at $500,000 to $750,000 from attendance. Moreover, 21 members of the club have advanced to U.S. Figure Skating Sectionals and U.S. Figure Skating National Championships, placing as high as fourth at the nationals.

The article stated the arena is not profitable and the contractor cannot offer cheaper ice to some users. However, the Herald editorial on May 23 reported that the Toyota Center campus, inclusive of the arena, was profitable. Why can the arena provide ice rates to their contractor-sponsored activities at substantially cheaper rates than to a nonprofit entity which benefits the community? Why is it not possible for the club to purchase ice in volume for reduced prices as other users do? Is the Toyota Center's "incentivized for profit" contract really being managed for the public or for the contractor?

BOB LOBER, West Richland

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