SNOW HILL– An online auction resulted in a high bid of $31,000 for the county’s synthetic ice rink.
In May, Worcester County listed its synthetic ice rink on govdeals.com. The auction ended May 22 with a high bid of $31,001.02 for the rink.
“It’s roughly half what the taxpayers paid for an idea that was not fulfilled,” Commissioner Chip Bertino said. “At least the taxpayers recouped some of what they expended.”
At the start of the year, the commissioners agreed to cease operations of the synthetic ice rink, which the county purchased for about $70,000 in 2019. Several of them said it was too expensive to set up and wasn’t utilized enough. At that point, staff advised them they could donate it, sell it on the online auction site govdeals.com or solicit bids for it. They voted 4-3 at the time to solicit bids.
When advised in April no bids were received, the commissioners voted 4-3 to list the ice rink on the online auction site govdeals.com.
Nicholas Rice, the county’s procurement officer, said this week the ice rink was viewed 1,350 times with 114 total bids from May 1 to May 22. He said he could not yet provide information on who had purchased the ice rink.
“We can provide information on the buyer once the sale is complete,” he said. “The auction has closed, but the sale is not finalized until the item is picked up.”
Bertino said he was pleased officials had agreed to list the rink online, as at least some funding would be recouped.
“Maybe Snow Hill can put the riverboat on there,” Bertino said, referencing the boat docked on the Pocomoke River.
The county purchased the ice rink in 2019 at the urging of Tom Perlozzo, who was at that time the recreation and parks director. He said the rink, which is 52’x32’, was a portable, buzzworthy attraction that could be used at special events.
The commissioners, however, noted earlier this year that the rink was underutilized and costly to set up, as it took eight staff members four hours to lay down the rink and another three hours to pick it up. While the majority supported selling it, others suggested the county keep it or donate it.
“We should accept a narrative of what the people that are interested in Worcester County would do with it, how they would utilize it, and decide what the best use would be moving forward and donate it,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said when disposing of the ice rink was initially discussed.
The majority of the commissioners, however, were committed to getting back some of the rink’s cost.