It’s been a month since Ralston handed management of the Ralston Arena to Spectra Venue Management, so if the Zamboni breaks, who has to pay to fix it?
The basics of the arrangement between Ralston and Spectra are that the city owns the venue and all the equipment and provides the arena’s budget while Spectra manages that budget and all the arena operations, which include repairs, routine maintenance, advertising, the box office and more.
According to the contract, those routine repairs come out of the arena’s operating budget. So if the Zamboni — ice resurfacer is the generic term — breaks, Spectra can handle that either internally or rely on relationships it has with companies that make ice resurfacing vehicles, General Manager Brian Krajewski said.
“It’s those relationships and resources that are going to help us operate at a high efficiency,” he said.
Any repair or expense for the building or equipment over $5,000, like buying a new ice resurfacer, is considered a “capital expenditure,” which would require City Council approval.
City Administrator Dave Forrest said parking lot and sidewalk repairs at the arena are a good example of what constitutes a capital expenditure.
Back to the ice resurfacers: Krajewski said an auditor came in and the arena’s ice resurfacing vehicles have been kept in great working condition even though they are beyond their batteries’ life expectancy.
The arena itself is also in “phenomenal shape” and there aren’t many large immediate needs, Krajewski said.
Future expenditures could include a storage barn so the city doesn’t have to rent space from the nearby American Legion post or a fence around the arena’s HVAC system to prevent damage.
Forrest said the city is still figuring out exactly what its role will be, but it is still involved on a day to day basis because Krajewski is frequently sending him emails about potential events in the arena.
Many of those leads, Krajewski said, are coming from other venues Spectra manages.
“They’re actively working to get some names that I think everybody can recognize and are going to be popular shows and good events,” Forrest said.
The city is developing an advisory board to meet with Krajewski monthly to review finances, bookings, proposed contracts, capital improvement plans, operating budgets and other aspects of the arena. The item was on the agenda for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.
“This is going to be a much more formal activity and more comprehensive activity than we’ve had in the past,” Forrest said.
Forrest anticipates the city having more information at its disposal since Spectra has two finance people at the arena, and he is excited for the full staff and corporate and regional resources available to make the arena successful.
“We were out on an island. We had no resources,” Forrest said.