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History of Building Mt. Vernon Skating Rink

History of Building Mt. Vernon Skating Rink

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Published by Scott A. Surovell
A history of the building of the Mt. Vernon Skating Rink written in 1994 by former Fairfax County Supervisor Warren Cikins.
A history of the building of the Mt. Vernon Skating Rink written in 1994 by former Fairfax County Supervisor Warren Cikins.

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Published by: Scott A. Surovell on Apr 15, 2013
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HISTORY
OF
BUILDING
MT.
VERNON
SKATING
RINK
(1975-78)
by Warren
I.
Cikins
(Mt.
Vernon
Supervisor
u
Retired)
August
1994
When
I
was
first
elected
to
the
Fairfax
County Board
in
a
special
election
at
the
end
of
January
1975,
I
began
to
make
plans
to
implement
the
agenda
on
which
I
had
run
for
office.
One
of
the
areas
I
was
especially
concerned
about
was
providing
wholesome
recreation
for
the
children
of
Mt.
Vernon,
as
well
as
giving
adults
a
place
to obtain
similar
enjoyment.
My
Board
predecessor,
Herb
Harris,
had
managed
to
gain
voter
approval
of
a
bond
referendum
for that
purpose
and
the
citizens
of
Mt.
Vernon
had
demonstra~ed
in
a
poll
their
preference
for
a
skating
rink.
I
must
admit
I
was
rather
surprised
by
that
Choice,
but.
I
was
happy
to
move
fortva.cd
t.o
implement~t;Re-±'r
choice,
especially
since
I
was
disturbed
by
the
sight
of
young
people
hanging aroundconvenience
stores
where"at
that
time
they
could
purchase
alcoholic
beverages
at
age
18.
Living
in
a
favored
community didnWt mean
that
young
people
wouldn't
qet
bored
easily
if
there
were
not
enough
attractive
opportunities
for
them
to get
appealing
recreation.
And
not
all
our youth
or
all
our
citizens
forthat
matter
were
favored,
so
economical
athletic
facilities
were
a
most
desirable
objective.
When
I
consulted with
my
Park
Authority
representative.
Glenn
Fatzinger,
he
indicated
that
there
was
considerableopposition
to
a
rink
both
fram
private
enterprise
(a
private
rink
operated
some
distance
away)
and
because
thethen
current
high
inflation
was
putting
the
cost
of
the
rink
out
of
reach.
Thebond
referendum
was
for
$2
million
and
the existing
plans
for
a
rink
indicated
a
rising
cost
to
$4
million.
I
turned
to
the
Mt.Vernon
citizenry
for
support
and
Bruce
Bolstad
of
Mt.
Vernon
did
a
valiant
job
of
organizing
an outpouring
of dedicated
and
enthusiastic
champions
of
the
cause.
Bruce and
too
many
others
than
can be
named
here
rallied
to
this
cause
and
demonstrated
that
Mt.
Vernon
did
indeed
strongly
want
a
skating
rink.
Bu
...
:heJl~,}L~L~"eIlt."bi!~QI:~t~~~Ea.t:LAUtho;tiJ::y8.
t..o
give
first
approval,
we
were
thwarted
by
the
Authority'Sunwillingness
to
okay
a
project
that
might
cost
twice
as
much
as
was
available.
My
suggestion
that
we
turnto
a
revenue
bond
to
provide
the additional
funds
was
not
accepted,
since
there
was a
fear
that
the
rink
would
be
a money
loser,
not
a moneymaker.The
feasibility
studies
that
hadbeen
prepared
were
shaky
about
the
economic
viability
of
the
undertaking
and
the
County demanded
an
at
least
breakeven
projection.
I
thenturned
to
the
then
Chairman
of the
Park
Authority
carl
Sell
and
the
Authority
Executive
Director,
Joe
Downs,
forhelp
in
finding
a
way
to
proceed.
I
will
be
eternally
grateful
for
their
constructive
response.
Together
we
were
able
to
design
a
rink
that
would come
within
the
$2
million
limit.
I
am
 
2
also
thankful
that
Fred
Crabtree,
a
key
Member
of
the
Authority
Board,
took
a
positive
view,
since
it
would
have been
understandable
if
had
offered objections.
Among
the
concessions
we
made
were
the
abandonment
of
the
expensive
brick
facade
(which would
have
been
consistent
with
the
nearby
library),
dropping
the
auxiliaryrink
which
would
have
been
primarily available
to
figure
skaters,
and
scrubbingfrom
the
plan
a
sizeable
community room
for regular
meetings.
I
continued
to
insist
that
the
rink
itself
measure
up
to
professional
standards,
which
was
an
important
consideration,
since
later
enabled
the
Washington
caps, our
big
league
team,
to
practice
at
our
rink for
many
years.
And
so,
on
a
fourth
try,
we
were
able
to
getthe
Park
Authority
to
the
proposal.
It
was
now
sent tothe
nG'aru~~;-SU9~V~~~~4~~~~~!~~'~~91~~~va1
which
we
all
knew
would
not
be
easy.
The
Board
of
Supervisors
was
initially
opposed
to
the
rink
on
several
grounds,
primarily
because
it
feared
that
it
would
not
be
used
adequately
to
pay
its
way,
and
secondly
because
many
supervisors
thought such
a
facility
should
be
built
by
private
enterprise.
I would
have
been
happy
have
private
enterprise
undertake
such
an
effort,
but
there
were
no
responses
to
outreaches.
Joe
Downs
again
perfor-med
splendidly, since
he
was
able
to
putthe
best
foot
forward
on
the
value
of
such
a
rink,
even though
he
had
some
personal
qualms
about
revenue
projections.
I was
personally
deteDmined
to
have
this
rink
built
to
meet
out
community's
vital
needs,
and
Downs
responded
beautifully
to
my
commitment.
Despite
my
best
efforts.
the
Board
ected
the
proposal
three
times
over
a number
of
months,
running through
the
winter
and
spring
of
1976.
During
this
time
the
country
was
in
a
periodof
what
was
ca1led
"stagflation",
with
a
situation
ofstagnant
economic
development
coupled
with serious
inflation.
The
first
Board
vote
was
6-3
against
me.
and
in
two more
tries
I
reached
a
5-4
opposition
situation.
Throughout
all
this
time
and
later
in
the
construction of
the
facility,
many
other
troubles arose.
Many
people
thought
the location of
the
rink
was wrong,
proposing
it
be
put
deeper
in
the
parkland
it
occupied,
not
realizing
that
it
was
located
where
it
was
because
it
was
the
only
place
in
the
park
it
could
be
built,
because
of
marine
clay
considerations.
Figure
skaters
objected to
a
design
that
showed
no
windows,
since
they
said
they
would
feel
inhibited
under
such
conditions.
We
added
windows
to
the
design,
even
though
it
meant
greater
cost,stressing
our
economic
projections.
Many
architects
thought
the
facade
shouldbe
brown
instea~
white,
since
they
felt
the
'
white
would
be too
noticeable.
I
sent
my
staffer,
Barbara
Rosenfeld,
who
sided
with
that
view,
to
see
a'building
just built
that
was
in
similar
terrain
with
brown
facade,
and
she
came
back
reluctantly
agreeing
with
me
and
the
rink
designers
that
White
was
best.
On
and on
it
went,
but
we
managed
to
deal
with
every

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