Will Roger ‘The Iceman’ Hanson Be Back in Superior in 2017? City Council Addresses Future of Winter Festival
After the disappointing first two years of 'Iceman' Roger Hanson's ice project as part of the Superior Ice Festival, the future of his planned third year in 2017 came into question during the Superior City Council's May meetings.
As you likely remember, Hanson's ice project collapsed in 2015 and again in 2016, due to unfavorable weather conditions. With the combined track record of the first two years of the contract, and the slated $60,000 Hanson would be paid for 2017, questions about whether or not to continue started to mount
During the City Council's May 3 meeting, Councilors Jack Sweeney and Tom Fennessey expressed particular reservations about funding a third year of the project. Both Sweeney and Fennessey pointed out that they voted in favor of the project for the first two years. After seeking some clarification on the financial aspects of the contract, Sweeney expressed his intention to vote against renewing for a third year, saying "It's outlived its time".
Councilor Fennessey shared that he felt there was not enough community and local business support for the project as it stood, and moved to refer the agenda item to the Finance Committee for further discussion.
'I did try my damndest, but I actually maybe had only 15 days that I was actually able to build anything' - 'Iceman' Roger Hanson addressing the Superior City Council on May 3, 2016
'Iceman' Roger Hanson was in attendance at the May 3 meeting, and spoke during the public comment time at the end of the meeting. Hanson opened his commentary by saying "I guess it's looking pretty dismal" in reference to the future of the project. He referred to the weather conditions for the first two years as "dismal" as well, saying he "tried his damnedest", but he only had about 15 days or so of cooperative weather during which to do significant work.
Hanson also mentioned that he was getting close to the end of his career as the 'Iceman', and was hoping to hand off his company soon. He suggested that having the third year of the contract picked up by the City of Superior would make it much easier to "hand things off" to someone else. In closing, Hanson thanked the council for the opportunity, saying "It's been a great adventure".
The City of Superior's Finance Committee convened on May 12, with the referred item of Hanson's contract on the agenda. After Park & Recreation Director Linda Cadotte gave an overview of the highlights of the April presentation about the Ice Festival, councilors agreed that the winter festival should continue and a marketing plan should be developed, supported by the same Hotel/Motel tax fund money that was used to support the event over the previous two years. Councilors also discussed whether or not to invite Roger Hanson back for a third year, ending with a motion not to renew the third year of the contract from Mike Herrick. That motion not to renew Hanson's contract for 2017 carried.
The City Council still needs to vote on the item, which will likely be a part of the next City Council meeting in June as a recommendation from the Finance Committee. While certainly not yet finalized, it appears the momentum is moving toward a winter festival without the 'Iceman' in 2017 in Superior, with new centerpiece attraction to anchor the festival. Stay tuned.