Steel Ice Center still has no buyer

Full story: The Morning Call

Dozens of investors from across North America have shown interest in buying the Steel Ice Center in south Bethlehem, but none wants to pay nearly $7.5 million to get it.
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Billy Givens

United States

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#1
Jul 2, 2008
 
Those of us who opposed the Sands BethWorks slot machine gambling casino of Sheldon Adelson and Phillipsburg native lawyer-developer - and Sands BethWorks principal - Michael Perrucci, have been vindicated.

We warned taxpayers as early as January 3, 2005, in a Northampton County Council meeting held for the first time in more than 200 years in downtown Easton's historic Jacob Bachmann Publick House, that the main thrust os Sands BethWroks was to get the gambling casino of Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, PA Governor Edward G. Rendell, Stephen Donches, and Jeff Parks ensconsed on 126 acres or so of the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation in the Lehigh River flood plain and in the direct path of storm-water runoff from South Mountain and the Lehigh University campus.

“GO PIGS ! 4/9/09”

Since: Apr 08

Bethlehem,Pa

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#3
Jul 2, 2008
 
Billy Givens wrote:
Those of us who opposed the Sands BethWorks slot machine gambling casino of Sheldon Adelson and Phillipsburg native lawyer-developer - and Sands BethWorks principal - Michael Perrucci, have been vindicated.
We warned taxpayers as early as January 3, 2005, in a Northampton County Council meeting held for the first time in more than 200 years in downtown Easton's historic Jacob Bachmann Publick House, that the main thrust os Sands BethWroks was to get the gambling casino of Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, PA Governor Edward G. Rendell, Stephen Donches, and Jeff Parks ensconsed on 126 acres or so of the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation in the Lehigh River flood plain and in the direct path of storm-water runoff from South Mountain and the Lehigh University campus.
And your point is ?
ken

Whitehall, PA

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#4
Jul 2, 2008
 
Billy Givens wrote:
Those of us who opposed the Sands BethWorks slot machine gambling casino of Sheldon Adelson and Phillipsburg native lawyer-developer - and Sands BethWorks principal - Michael Perrucci, have been vindicated.
We warned taxpayers as early as January 3, 2005, in a Northampton County Council meeting held for the first time in more than 200 years in downtown Easton's historic Jacob Bachmann Publick House, that the main thrust os Sands BethWroks was to get the gambling casino of Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, PA Governor Edward G. Rendell, Stephen Donches, and Jeff Parks ensconsed on 126 acres or so of the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation in the Lehigh River flood plain and in the direct path of storm-water runoff from South Mountain and the Lehigh University campus.
And this has something to do with the ice skating rink? Take your pills
skater mommy

AOL

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#5
Jul 2, 2008
 

Judged:

1

Not a suprise it didn't get the minimum bid. There is not one person in there that TRUTHFULLY knows how to run an ice rink, nor the personalities of a friendly customer oriented business. The changes there since the end of 2007 have driven both customers and employees away. It's a shame, but there are to many people in there now that do nothing but sit behind a desk, and thats if they are even there. My children are better off staying away from there. The personalities in there anymore are rude, impolite, and one of "who cares, where else will you go" attitudes. I remember the past tournaments and other events which actually got the rink great exposure for events dedicated to helping MS and other great causes that are no longer there. I thought maybe they just ended, but I see these tournamnts have found friendlier environments to continue there cause for the unfortunate in our world. They even had a great band in there last summer in which my kids never had a better time, and all for a great cause. I guess i'll take my family out to Reading and the Body Zone to enjoy a great weekend for a great cause. If the rink can not financially afford to hold these great events, just shut the doors and move on in your lives.

SM
Ex-Rink Guy

Brookston, IN

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#6
Jul 2, 2008
 
skater mommy wrote:
Not a suprise it didn't get the minimum bid. There is not one person in there that TRUTHFULLY knows how to run an ice rink, nor the personalities of a friendly customer oriented business. The changes there since the end of 2007 have driven both customers and employees away. It's a shame, but there are to many people in there now that do nothing but sit behind a desk, and thats if they are even there. My children are better off staying away from there. The personalities in there anymore are rude, impolite, and one of "who cares, where else will you go" attitudes. I remember the past tournaments and other events which actually got the rink great exposure for events dedicated to helping MS and other great causes that are no longer there. I thought maybe they just ended, but I see these tournamnts have found friendlier environments to continue there cause for the unfortunate in our world. They even had a great band in there last summer in which my kids never had a better time, and all for a great cause. I guess i'll take my family out to Reading and the Body Zone to enjoy a great weekend for a great cause. If the rink can not financially afford to hold these great events, just shut the doors and move on in your lives.
SM
Until the present owners are removed there will be no changes. These guys are absolute business knuckleheads. When the rink first started there were people who cared and operated the rink accordingly. In an effort to make money those people were fired, removed or just plain quit.

In contrast to all of the newspaper stories, the rink does not make money. This is the spin that the owners are putting on the PR that they are spewing in an effort to sell the rink. The reason it will not sell is that the price is way to high in relation to the income it produces. The rink also is in bad shape since the required critical maintenance is not done. The Zamboni repair company will no longer come to the rink to service them and there is no one, yes no one, who really knows how to run the complex mechanical equipment that keeps the ice frozen. This is a key safety issue! I'm not sure if the rink has the required certified personnel either to run the snack bar in a sanitary manner.

None of the reporters have the ability to do a story on what actually has occurred to get to this point. They interview the same people who give them, at best, a very rosie veiw of the rink.

With the problems at the other rink the Lehigh Valley skating community could loose both facilities. What a shame.
Ex-Rink Guy

Brookston, IN

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#8
Jul 3, 2008
 
To SM, I was there from before the start. The current owners are the root of most of the problems. The current management staff are not rink guys. Zamboni Mike left because of very poor present management.

The current skaters at the rink must have a "sit down" with the owners and tell them to get a "real" staff. The problems started when the Blast organization over stepped the moral boundaries and had the rink owners fire some of the staff.

I hope the rinks get sold to a group who knows how to operate it.
an insider

New Tripoli, PA

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#9
Jul 3, 2008
 
I hope and pray that a real "Skating Company" Takes over. The Farmer needs to realize that it is time to come to his senses and cut his loses. Mr. Farmer please understand something here you'll never make a profit from selling the rink, so just do the community a favor and allow a qualified company to buy the rink from you.

As for the management staff... The current GM should actually do some work instead of causing tension amongst all of the employees. The guy is a Clown. He doesn't know how to talk to his employees he is down right rude and often borders on harrasment and does all this in front of the customers. He has forced the valley's best ICE guy out (Zamboni Mike) this guy's ice was amazing. The Ice now is a disgrace. Furthermore the current GM is unfriendly and often rude to customers (which happens to be children) also!! Where did this guy learn to run a business. There are so many more blunders that this guy has done to drive Hockey teams, figure skaters and casual skaters away it's nauseating. As for advertising it is cheaper to advertise at the Iron Pigs (What's Wrong here!!) There are only a few employees left that actually know what to do with an Ice rink and how long is before they are forced out or quit. If that should happen they might as well shut down the rink. After all it comes down to who hired this CLOWN. It takes more then water and sunshine to run an Ice Rink
Ex-Rink Guy

Brookston, IN

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#10
Jul 3, 2008
 
The farmer and his son are ALWAYS right! The current GM was picked personally by the farmer and he won't be eliminated until the farmer has no more use for him. The customer relation problem you cite are not enough to fire him because this would be an admission of poor management by the farmer.

The rink is way under staffed and has serious lack of experience personnel that know how to run the rink safely.

The statement about how the farmer and his son were doing this for the "community" is total BS as are most of the newspaper stories. The reporters never get to the root issues.
Allentownian

Allentown, PA

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#11
Jul 3, 2008
 
Hey as long as we still have the Ice Palace in Allentown (just kidding)...
Ex-Ref

Allentown, PA

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#13
Jul 3, 2008
 
To "mens league" guy, yes I'm sure you know the people involved during the start - I sure do. They were all old Ice Palace players.

The current owners have no respect for the skating public, if they did they never would have hired such a poor GM. They are risking everyones safety by not having anyone who knows the operation of the rink. Ask the new GM what is his emergency plan if he has a leak in the compressor room? I'm sure he does not know that this could be a problem. The rink requires trained personnel to run it. Did you know in Canada the operations manager has to pass a certification test to hold the job by law.

The skating public should go to the owner and ask why they have picked someone with no experience to run the place. Mike H. quit because the new GM is a cement head who would not listen to the most knowledgable ice guy in the valley. One of the skater mom comments was about the condition of the ice. This shows that they know NOTHING about keeping the ice flat and edged. Mike would never let this happen. I'm sure they have no clue as to how to fix the problems.

From the start the owners failed to follow the biz plan that was laid out for the rink. After the initial management was gone, it was just a matter of time before the rink got to the state it is in now.

I would like to think that meeting with the owner would fix the problems, it will not. They are the problem. So the rink and the non-programs that it has will continue along until they (the owners) get tired of putting money into the rink or they take a big haircut and sell it to some one who hopefully cares.
Norbert

Bethlehem, PA

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#14
Jul 3, 2008
 
It is a bad business in general. Limited appeal, expensive relative to similar activities and just not that big a deal, especially around here.
A bad investment and it will probably be converted into something else.
3sk8rs

New Tripoli, PA

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#15
Jul 3, 2008
 
This is a facility that many call home both hockey and figure skating and is neccessary in the ccommunity.The prob is the GM .He is ignorant and has let too many good employees leave.He speaks down to his employees and doesnt deal w/ the customers well at all. It appears to me that he needs to go to other employees to ask "simple" questions b/c he has no clue .this is a sad situation.As fro the ice .....yes it is terrible .Mike H knew how to do the ice and tok pride in it ...he is missed there .It is sad b/c someone will get hurt on that ice and as far as the GM is concerned as long as there is someone to drive it .....goood enough .this should be a training facility that people look to come to yet the owners and GM have a "good enough attitude" this is why it is what it is and i sincerely hope that the new owners(if there are ones)take feedback from the most important people "the customers" !!!look at all the commments they all talk about the same person that must tell you something
Ex-Ref

Allentown, PA

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#16
Jul 4, 2008
 
It's time for the skating community in the valley to WAKE UP. There is a strong possibility that the only rink left in the valley will be Bethlehem Muni.

Here is why. Steel Ice may be sold for another use and the Whitehall rink is in such bad shape that it might just close for lack of funds to repair it. I wish Rich P. luck in his effort to buy the rink in order to make it right. It will be a tough go.

The curent owner of the Whitehall rink recently fired one of the best GM's we have in the valley - Eric Rockwell to save money. The SIC should fire their loser and hire Eric so the they have at least one experienced person running it.

Where is the Blast hockey organization in all this? There is no way for their ice needs to be supported if SIC closes. Whitehall is down to one sheet of ice because of repair problems. Maybe the Blast should buy the rink, go non-profit (eliminating $100,000's in taxes: city, county, mercantile, sales) and make it into a hockey only rink. By doing this the insureance rate would go down since all organized teams are insured by USA Hockey and limit use to only other clubs that are insured by their US organizations. This would include: speed skaters and figure skating clubs.
Ditch the CLOWN

Fairport, NY

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#17
Jul 4, 2008
 
here's the thing that most of us are overlooking.. The Farmer doesnt care about the rink he put the current GM in place just to keep SIC in limbo until a new owner can be had. Until then the current GM will continue to put fresh paint on the walls, Keep the halls clear and put up EXIT only signs.
I also haven't seen the speed skating club in a while I wonder if the ice is too dangerous for them to skate on or is it that they got a better deal elsewhere, either way another blunder on the GM's part. I know every skater/player is praying that a REAL owner steps up and buys SIC.
Ex-Ref

Allentown, PA

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#19
Jul 4, 2008
 
The farmer, and especial his son, are the problem. He is responsible for a lot of the problems that are unknown to the public. When Jimmy and Jack started the whole process of the new rink every thing was good until the farmer's son decided he would manage the rink too. He is the main reason the rink has gotten to the point it is. ZM was hired by Jimmy, and worked for Jack to do the ice portion of the business.

Nothing goes on at the rink any more because there is no GM out in the community doing the work to get all of the additional good stuff, like advertising, into the facility. There is no hockey director to promote the hockey side. There is no full time figure skating director either. I'll like to know if the snack bar has certified personal, as required by the state of PA, to run / manage the sanitation aspect, as required.

And to the men's league guy, your comments are right on. ZM is one of the best guys out there, I know him very well. The real problem, aside from the current owners, is revenue. The cost to operate the rink is very high. When the first management team (GM, Ops Mgr, Hockey Dir, Snack Bar Mgr, Figure Skating Dir) was in it cost a lot to pay them. The farmer was losing money so he did a lot of nasty stuff to get all those people out of the picture. All that was left of the initial crew was ZM. When the new GM Clyde made it impossible for ZM to stay the owners made a the big decision to "F" the skating community and stand behind the joker they put in at GM. And now we see the results.

More people need to get involved in this blog string so maybe the next owner can understand what is going on.
The Coach

Allentown, PA

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#20
Jul 5, 2008
 
One of the MC articles stated that the reason was poor management that the place is failing. Who is the ultimate management …… the farmer, Mr. Trainor and the farmer’s son.

The place has been mismanaged since day one. Jack & Jimmy were nice guys, good hockey officials but not business owners. No clue, no personality and no forethought. Then the parade of managers. The “mangers” changed quicker than the flavors at Rita’s! So many I can’t even remember, we had Ed, we had Bobby, we had Mike, we had another Mike and now we have Mr. personality - Clyde.

Mr. Personality would rather turn an ice rental away between $200 and $250 an hour in the summer and try to get the same rate as he gets during prime time. The last time I looked, 75% income is better than 0%! How do you pay the bills with no income?

It’s time for the MC to dig deeper. Talk to the patrons – Lehigh, the Skating clubs; – both figure and speed, talk to the “guys” who built a first class men’s league and talk to the Blast who have grown over 200% since they moved into the building. Maybe they should run the place – they have a successful business model.

Zamboni Mike was a great guy but his hands got tied by a manager who was successful running a youth camp and a minor league baseball franchise. The SIC will be successful if and when an “ice facility manger" is brought in!
Ex-Ref

Allentown, PA

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#21
Jul 5, 2008
 
To the coach: I disagree on certain points, other you are right on. You need a history lesson on the formation of the rink. Jack and Jimmy were the prime movers that created the rink. They did all of the work with the Beth Works - purchased the land and had a contract with RCN for sponsorship, they created the business plan that was ignored by the farmer, Jeff and the farmer's son. They did the work to get the rink to Bethlehm - no one else can claim that. They put the programs in place and hired the people who work there. Period. When the call went out for people to invest it was a very short list.

As for the Blast org having the best business plan. What biz plan? They have a successful organization because they are at a great rink which Jack and Jimmy planned and worked hard to get. They do not rent enough ice to support the rink. No one group does. The Blast name was a creation for the Junior hockey team and was given to the Thunder hockey to use.

The Blast is responsible for driving the men's league to the other rink by demanding that they get more ice time. They used their "we're the big customer" hammer to force the men's league to latter time. This reduce the overall rink income, the extra Blast time did not offset it. The Blast, if they ran the rink would have to realize that they are NOT the only customer in the place. The management of the rinik must realize that all group get respected not just one.

The Blast should step right now and buy the rink. They should put there money were their mouths are and get it done.
Jim Galley

Milton, PA

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#22
Jul 5, 2008
 
Thank you ex-ref for giving the coach a history lesson on the facility, as he is clueless on the facts. As for myself having no personality and forethought you obviously do not know me very well coach..... but you are entitled to your opinion. It is sad to see what has happen to this facility. I to hope someone can take over and make this facility a fun place to come too , as it was during my few years as an Operating partner/GM. It is a very tough industry right now and the poor management decisions made by the group I brought to the table from the start are the reasons why the facility is in the state it is. Sometime you can partner with the wrong people and it puts your name in a bad light. The people who know me and worked for me do know the facts and why this facility is in a mess.
sheldon

AOL

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#23
Jul 5, 2008
 
Hey , look at me ? I opened a casino and nobody came. When it rains I wish I could freeze it . I could charge adnission for ice skating and make a few bucks.
sheldon

AOL

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#24
Jul 5, 2008
 
If the ice is that sloppy maybe I can bring the Jamaiacan Bobsled team to train there . That looks about the length of as far as they go .

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