City mulls proposals for Wichita Ice Center

WICHITA — There's concern swirling through the ice skating community about a possible change in management at the Wichita Ice Center.

The city issued a request for proposals and now is evaluating three potential center managers.

That includes Virginia-based Rink Management Services, which currently manages the center, and Genesis Health Clubs, the only local group that submitted a proposal.

Some parents of children who skate at the center have contacted the city to express concern that Genesis, which doesn't operate any ice facilities, appears to be the front runner.

"It would be detrimental to our skaters if a company took over the ice rink that had no experience," says Lisa Totten, whose 11-year-old daughter is a competitive skater at the center.

"It's not just a business. There's technical expertise they need to know.”

Doug Kupper, the city's director of park and recreation, says no decisions have been made on new management yet.

"To speculate who is and who isn't going to be managing the ice center is premature because we don't have anything at all finalized. We're nowhere near where we need to be in even going to the City Council with a recommendation."

In 2006, Rink Management got a two-year contract with the city to run the center, and that's been extended with two one-year contracts.

There are no renewals left, though, and the city had to issue an RFP "whether we liked them or didn't like them," Kupper says.

However, Rink Management's contract has been extended to March while the city makes a decision.

"They've been pretty good," Kupper says of the company, adding, "There's always room for improvements."