Mayor proposes $110,000 ice bumper car facility attraction

What's the Deal with Ice Bumpers?

The Town Council voted 4:1 to approve the Mayor's proposed 2018 Budget. This includes a $9.2 million dollar bond that will pay for street upgrades, safety lighting, splitting the costs of upgrades to the H.S. track and field, and a mysterious item called "Ice Bumpers."  Councilman Krakoviak asked the Town Chief Financial Officer to define what "Ice Bumpers" are, and he described them as "kind of like bumper cars, but on ice." Within the bond, taxpayers are being asked to fund this ice bumper facility.  (To the tune of $110, 000, in a township where taxes are rising for the umpteenth time in a row.) Our Green West Orange breaks it down for you here:

Pros

  • Residents will have another activity to frequent in town.
  • The Ice Bumpers will be a selling point for new, potential home buyers.
  • The Ice Bumpers will help promote growth in West Orange.

Cons

  • High Maintenance: 

  1. These machines are battery operated & are designed to be used on a professionally groomed ice skating of hockey rink.  
  2. The ice must be smooth and constantly maintained by a Zamboni machine.  
  3. If the ice surface is not smooth & perfectly level the small wheels of each ice bumper car will be stuck or even worse will slide to the lowest point of the ice rink.
  4. These machines are not designed to be used on a haphazardly frozen surface.
  5. The ice surface is frozen to a level concrete pad and maintained by a professional ice manager.  The surface is maintained with the zamboni machine.

  • Location, Location, Location:

  1. These ice bumper machines are used out doors in Providence, Rhode Island on a professionally designed ice rink.  
  2. The facilities currently built in the nation are a PART of a larger, high traffic area. (Similar to Rockefeller Center's skating rink.) In West Orange, the site proposed is "off the beaten path."
  3. These machines are also at the Toledo Zoo &  the same situation is required to use them.

  • Limited Use:

  1. With the freezing and thawing cycles due to GLOBAL WARMING occurring the actual amount of time these machines will be in use will be limited.
  2. We learned at the June 26th, 2018 Town Council Mtg that only 4 or 5 people will be able to participate at a time. This means during busy times, riders will have to wait in line for their turn. (Think about how much fun it is to wait in line for the zoo train at TBZ...) Now add winter weather.
  3. O’Connor park has very limited parking, no restrooms, no heated areas to warm up and no first aid facilities.
  4. O’Connor park is located at the top of Lorelei road which can be a dangerous place to drive during winter weather.
  5. Parking on the streets around O’Connor park is not an option during the winter months due to snow piled up on the roadsides.  The roads are already too narrow after winter storms.
  6. Freezing the street hockey rink at O’Connor park and buying some ice bumper cars is never going to work for the township simply because the competition 1 hour away in the poconos has such awesome, complete all-season resorts.

Alternatives, Reflections, & Suggestions

  • A better option for ice bumper cars is the pond at degnan park.  However it is impossible to groom this with a zamboni.  The machine would fall through the ice.
  • The best and probably the least expensive option would be for the township to rent ice time at the Cody arena.  The ice bumper cars could then be used year round and the ice would be maintained professionally.
  • It may be cheaper and a better option to work out a special deal with a local business or pocono resort whereby west orange residents get a special deal during the winter to enjoy all the amenities they offer.
  • The mayor made a remark during the June 12, 2018 council meeting that West Orange does not have good hills for sleigh riding.  OGWO respectfully disagrees. There are many great hills such as the golf course on Pleasant Valley Way and Mount Pleasant school.  (However very few people go sleigh riding any more, or prefer to travel to Flood's Hill in South Orange.)
  • People have less free time and during the winter the tend to go to professionally managed ski resorts to ski, snowboard, or go snow tubing.  
  • With the development of gigantic indoor water parks in the poconos such as Camelback, Great Wolf Lodge, and Kalahari, There are many options for winter recreation literally 1 hour away.
  • Let's earmark the $110,000 to upgrade current West Orange parks and recreation sites, as well as create active areas when residents can participate in ACTIVE recreation. (Not sitting in a plastic, battery-operated intertube bumping into others. Then waiting line to it all over again.)

  1. Bike trails/lanes (And yes, winter biking and competitions are possible.)
  2. Create sledding chateaus to promote outdoor activity
  3. Work with local golf courses and county park officials on creating cross country skiing & snowshoeing trails, and equipment rental options.
  4. Rent space from vacant building owners/current business owners for winter fitness activities, game nights,  etc.
  5. Build indoor Pickle Ball and/or Ga-Ga pit facilities throughout town.
  6. ...taxpayers who have more ideas can email them to council@westorange.org

Below is additional information that was presented to the West Orange Township Council, most recently on August 7, 2018, by a West Orange resident who researched the Mayor's Ice Bumper Facility plan.

Printable Info (pdf)

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