Turning valuable property into an ice rink
“Skating away. Skating away on the thin ice of a new day. Aaay.”
Sorry. I’ve had that song stuck inside my head ever since the mayoral candidate forum on Tuesday. Mayor Jeff Scrima told the audience that he would like to see a public ice-skating rink on one of the most valuable properties in downtown Waukesha.
The candidates were asked what they would like to see at the riverfront property next to Bank Street. After Scrima gave his explanation of how the convention center fell through, he said ProHealth Care also passed on building their new cancer care center there.
Then Scrima said, “One of the things that I would like to see there or somewhere along the Riverwalk would be a municipal ice rink.” Apparently this isn’t some random idea that floated into Scrima’s head as he stood at the podium.
“I have contact with our Parks Director Ron Grall as well as community leaders and, conceptually we would like to build something as downtown Milwaukee at Red Arrow Park, which would be a professional municipal ice rink which our citizens could enjoy all winter long with a little skate shop and coffee shop next to it.”
I think the mayor has seen “The Bishop’s Wife” too many times. (Hopefully it was the much better original version with Cary Grant as Dudley.) A municipal ice-skating rink that would take those properties off the tax rolls? That’s what he sees?
Taking a valuable piece of downtown riverfront property and turning it into an ice skating rink is just too silly. Wasn’t there anyone in the dwindling circle of Scrima’s smart people that understands this?
Maybe Scrima thinks the ice-skating rink could be in the shape of a guitar, and the little skate and coffee shops could be in little shacks shaped like guitar amplifiers. Then someone should remind him again we don’t make guitars in this city.
As for Red Arrow Park, that was a preexisting park on which they built the ice skating rink. Instead of taking valuable property off the tax rolls that could be used more productively, let’s build an iceskating rink at an existing park, just like Milwaukee.
Oh yeah, we already have had an iceskating rink at Buchner Park. It’s just across the street from the official mayoral residence. No need for a new coffee shop, just open up the concession stand at the pool.
Kids, the first cup of hot chocolate is on the mayor.
*** One of the problems our city has suffered through with Scrima as mayor is that it’s an ongoing on-the-job training session that never ends. Everything from learning how a city budget is created to learning to work with people (still working on that) to learning the basic ceremonial civic responsibilities of a mayor. It’s been one long civics class for Scrima, sometimes at taxpayer expense at Harvard. In a city our size, we deserve better than a mayor fumbling through the City Government for Dummies book.
When Scrima does say dumb things, it’s somebody else’s fault. The latest childish “it’s not my fault” is Scrima’s explanation for calling Gov. Scott Walker and President Barack Obama extremists.
Scrima blamed the media on Tuesday for taking his words “out of context.” That means two newspapers, three local radio talk-show hosts, at least one television station, and almost every columnist at the Waukesha Freeman agreed to misinterpret Scrima’s remarks.
I can’t wait to see the GuitarTown-branded tin foil hats on sale at the Farmer’s Market this year.
We have two very capable candidates running to replace Scrima in Alderman Terry Thieme and local attorney Shawn Reilly.