For the third year in a row, the Schenectady County Recreational Facility ice rink has generated a surplus, bringing in $340,000 in total revenue in 2008, or $23,000 more in revenues than expenses.
The 2008 revenue was the highest amount generated since the ice rink opened in 2000, according to a press release from Susan Savage, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature.
The rink is owned by the county, but the Schenectady Youth Hockey Association has a contract to manage it.
Mike Smith, who manages the rink as the Schenectady Youth Hockey Association's only full-time employee, attributed the facility's success to the many leagues, high school and adult, that play at the rink, along with the Learn to Skate programs that attract young children.
More than 75 people were skating at the ice rink Sunday afternoon with about 20 more lacing their skates, and Smith said it was a slow day. “It's usually a lot busier than this,” he said.
Kim Kurtzner of Charlton, who was skating Sunday with her two daughters, Melanie, 2, and Katy, 5, said she comes to the rink regularly during the winter because it's a cheap way to keep the kids active.
“It's a reasonable price and it gives the kids something to do during the winter and they enjoy it,” Kurtzner said.
Admission for open skate is $4 and skate rentals are $2.
Elizabeth Vigna, 15, of Jefferson near Oneonta, said ice skating was still a “cool” thing to do for teenagers. Vigna was there with her family, who agreed ice skating was a good family activity to do in the winter, especially when there wasn't enough snow for snowmobiling.
The rink is open 50 weeks a year. It closes for two weeks in July for repairs.
While ice skating may be thought of as a winter sport, the indoor rink has increased spring and summertime participation by 25 percent, officials said.
The rink also has a hockey leagues that play there, including four men's leagues and the Niskayuna/Schenectady Mohawks and Mohonasen/Shalmont Thundering Herd high school ice hockey teams. The Achilles Figure Skating Club also uses the rink as its home base.
The press release said that the county earned more than $211,000 in 2008 from ice rentals for the ice hockey programs that play at the arena.
Doug Bikowicz and his daughter, Veronica, 5 were waiting Sunday afternoon for Veronica's figure-skating coach.
The family said they come to the rink at least once a week for lessons and often participate in free skating, too.
Doug Bikowicz said he thinks the rink is so successful because ice skating is something fun to do in the winter when there isn't much else going on.
Dave and Kristine Welch, of Amsterdam, brought their two boys, Ryan, 6, and Andy, 5, to the rink to meet some of their friends from Barkley Elementary School.
The Welches said they liked doing activities like ice skating in the winter to get their boys involved in different sports.
“It's good to get young kids involved in good sports,” Kristine Welch said. “I think a lot of people forget about ice skating.”