The Ralston City Council on Tuesday voted to take $750,000 more from the city’s lottery fund as it transfers management of the Ralston Arena to a private company.

Spectra Venue Management of Philadelphia assumed responsibility for the arena April 1. The extra funding is needed, the city says, to ensure Spectra’s success.

More than half of the money, $450,000, will pay for employee costs, including final payroll and accrued vacation time for arena employees now with Spectra, and the hiring of new employees, including director of food and beverages, director of finance, director of partnerships and a staff accountant.

The remaining $300,000 is going toward maintenance. The arena’s parking lot and sidewalks suffer from “chronic problems” made worse by the harsh winter, according to a memo provided to the City Council. There’s also a leak in underground piping that carries ethylene glycol, the agent that cools ice rinks.

Dave Forrest, Ralston’s city administrator, said revitalizing the arena’s finances will take time. He said Spectra needs to be set up well from the beginning to achieve long-term improvements.

“Do we want to reduce the amount that we rely on the lottery fund for the Ralston Arena? Absolutely,” Forrest said. “That’s why Spectra is here, but we’ve got to get Spectra off to a good start, and that’s going to take an initial investment.”

The money, which comes from Ralston’s share of keno proceeds, will be taken from a pool that held $1.13 million as of April 2.

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Since the arena’s opening in 2012, it has consistently underperformed in terms of revenue. As of April, only five of the arena’s 30 revenue line items were exceeding budget, according to the memo. The remaining items “are off the monthly pace and more than likely will not catch-up,” the memo says.

City leaders hope Spectra can turn those numbers around. Forrest said he thinks there was some hesitation on the part of advertisers and sponsors while the city was determining whether to bring on a private management company. That should change now that Spectra is on board, he said.

Ralston has a history of using lottery funds, which are earmarked for public improvements, to make up for budgeting constraints associated with the arena. In 2018, the city allocated $500,000 from the fund. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, the city transferred nearly $1 million to the arena.

In total, including the amount approved Tuesday, Ralston will have transferred close to $6 million in lottery funds to support the arena since it opened in 2012.

Tuesday’s action came two months after the city agreed to turn over operations of the arena to Spectra.