Community members may soon have a new way to release any winter frustrations during a visit to the ice of Mitchell's indoor skating rink.
Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell unveiled his proposal to welcome ice bumper cars to the Mitchell Activities Center during the March 19 Parks and Recreation Board meeting.
"We're always looking for ways to boost revenue at the Activities Center, and I think these will be a great way to do just that," Powell said, noting he projects the ice bumper cars to bring close to $40,000 in annual revenue at the Activities Center.
Should the Parks and Recreation Board members approve of the ice bumper cars during the May 6 meeting, Powell said they would be included in the Parks and Recreation Department's 2020 capital projects budget request. The Mitchell City Council will have the final say in whether the ice bumper cars make their way onto the Mitchell Activities Center ice rink, which they will vote on during a summer budget hearing. The estimated cost for the ice mobiles is $60,000, which Powell would include in the Parks and Recreation Department 2020 budget.
"I hope this will introduce a new winter activity for kids and adults to engage in, and it would be a family fun activity as well," Powell said.
Powell said there will be a total of 10 ice bumper cars, and they are expected to arrive before the first day of open skate on October 15, 2020 if approved. All ages would be welcome to operate the ice mobiles. According to Powell, the ice bumper cars will be available during open skate, which spans from Oct. 15 to March 23, 2021.
"They are a lot more high tech than people would imagine," Powell said of the ice bumper cars. "The driver controls them with two joysticks, and there is a computer system that can set the time duration, and it's also how you turn them on and off."
Should the bumper cars be approved, Powell will begin the planning process for narrowing down a time limit and cost, which he said he's leaning toward a 20-minute duration.
The ice mobiles are backed with a 24 -volt power system that propels the two rubber wheels, which help gain traction on the ice without causing any damage, according to Powell.
To allow for the bumping, Powell said each ice bumper car will have a large PVC inner tube wrapped around the control system where the driver sits and operates the bumper car.
"Open skate and the bumper cars will share the ice rink, which will also help people interact with each other on the ice," Powell said. "You only need a quarter section on the sheet of ice, so there will be adequate space for both."