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Depew ice rink faces audit

Depew’s village-owned ice rink faces an audit just four months into the Renew Depew Party’s administration at Village Hall.

The Village Board voted unanimously to name Drescher & Malecki, an accounting firm, to conduct the audit at no cost.

Village officials indicated that many in the community have long wondered if the ice rink on Gould Avenue makes money for the village, breaks even or is a money-loser.

“When we first took office, there was an issue with grants, and the possibility of spending a lot of money on dehumidification” at the rink, Mayor Jesse Nikonowicz said.

“It’s the only thing that makes money for the village, but does it sustain itself?”

Limited details were provided about why the rink is being audited now.

But after Monday night’s meeting, Trustee Robert Kucewicz, also a former mayor of the village, said it’s time to do a thorough review of the rink, which is used by organizations outside of the community, as well.

He estimated the rink is at least 40 years old.

“Everybody always talks that it makes money, but there’s electrical costs, plowing the parking lots, etc.,” Kucewicz said.

“There’s so many things that go into making a rink work, and some are wondering if there is a deficit.”

He said the audit will examine if the facility is self-sufficient or not.

Initially, the rink was an open-air facility and is now mostly fully enclosed. But on the one end, which is only partially enclosed, Kucewicz said fog looms over the rink in the winter when humidity is high.

The rink is closed during the summer.

No timetable on the audit was detailed, nor was there an indication of when it would begin.

Also at the meeting:

• Trustee Linda Hammer announced that the gazebo in Veteran’s Park on Terrace Boulevard is in line for a face lift and some much-needed repairs.

The Lancaster Industrial Development Agency awarded $19,200 in tourism funds to the village to repair and improve the gazebo.

The funds will be used to repair and replace shingles on the gazebo roof, powerwash and strip it, stain the structure and complete the work with two coats of sealant, Nikonowicz said. The work is to begin this week.

• Resident Dan Beutler questioned what village officials are doing about the growing heroin problem among users in the village, saying there were three overdoses in the village in the last month.

“What are we doing?” said Beutler, a former drug counselor.

“I would hope the board would start talking about this heroin. It’s very, very dangerous.”

Kucewicz agreed. “It’s a horrible situation,” he said.

Beutler offered to give the village suggestions on how best to deal with the problem and the board seemed receptive.