By Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
RALSTON — Feces on the floor.
Water fountains dry.
Concession stand closed.
Ice time mix-ups.
And, oh yea, no high-dollar naming rights.
Nebraska Watchdog has uncovered growing pains at the 6-week-old, city-owned, $37-million Ralston Arena.
The problems surfaced following General Manager Curtis Webb’s unexpected and immediate resignation that was announced late last week.
But Ralston Mayor Don Groesser tells Nebraska Watchdog none of the missteps at the 4,600 seat arena — 4,000 for hockey — were tied to Webb’s departure.
“I’m sorry to see him go. Now I’ve got to find somebody else,” said Groesser.
According to the mayor, Webb whose family never followed him to Nebraska, is heading home to take a similar job in Minnesota.
As for the initial glitches, the mayor tells Nebraska Watchdog:
- The feces on the floor spilled out when a pump motor, jammed with a piece of construction wire, backed-up and overflowed. It was “cleaned-up right away” and won’t happen again, Groesser said.
- The water fountains that were out of commission the first two weeks are now working.
- The ice time mix-ups, which found some skaters sent home, were caused by scheduling snafus when no Zamboni drivers were available. “I think we’ve addressed those,” the mayor said.
- The sometimes-closed concession stand — the city leases it out — is a work in progress and the mayor wants it open full-time. Groesser said the other day at 4 p.m. he noticed it was closed. Why? He was told the lone operator, who had run out of milk, shut down to go buy more.
And then there are those coveted and still unsold naming rights.
Just down the road, Werner Trucking puts its name on Sarpy County’s $26-million minor-league ballpark, shelling out $305,000 a year for five years with an option for a second five-years. That would bring in a little more than $3 million.
Groesser said he’s had a couple of prospects for the naming rights, but none hit his number. He wants $250,000 a year for 10 years, or $2.5 million.
“We didn’t have any luck selling it and I wasn’t going to give it away,” the mayor said. “I’m kind of excited about calling it the Ralston Arena.”
Contact Joe Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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