Headlines and news stories abound about the coming potential management change at the XL Center and Rentschler Field, the stories say that the two sports and entertainment facilities should be used more.
We have a hint - the ice at the XL Center (Veteran's Memorial Coliseum to us). It sits empty most of the time - why? Our sources tell us that rinks across the state - Bolton, Enfield, Cromwell, Simsbury, etc... are busy and bustling with kids, adults teams, casual skaters and potential Olympic figure skaters.
Hartford proved that given the right incentives people will skate - we had 50,000 use that little fake pond in Bushnell Park last year and this year the goal is 100,000. The city and various corporation supporters backed this effort to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars - we have a year-round, weather proof ice rink right here in river city empty most of the time.
Why can't we take a whirl lunch time downtown? Why isn't the ice available after every game (UCONN is coming in 2014)? Why doesn't our city recreation department sponsor all kinds of classes, hockey teams, clinics etc... in this city owned rink?
We are just asking the question - answers are needed from: the city (owner), the state (renter), the outfit calling the shots (CRDA) and the various bidders for management of the XL Center.
It is all part of a bigger problem: city residents are ignored – even distained – by many of the out-of-towners that run our big facilities. This attitude should change – immediately.