Cool profits for Gainesville from ice rink

Published: Monday, January 9, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 10:56 p.m.
Gainesville's cultural affairs staff is considering the Downtown Ice Palace's third year a success.
Though the portable ice rink was only open for four weeks, two weeks less than in previous years, it attracted 13,500 skaters and grossed about $118,000, said Laural DeWild, the city employee in charge of the event.
"It was our shortest season, but we actually were just as busy" as previous years, DeWild said.
In the past, the event has cost the city money, but a revenue-sharing agreement between the city and the company responsible for the rink has cut city expenditures, DeWild said.
The city will receive about a quarter of the money earned, some of which will be used to pay utility and other costs associated with the event, DeWild said. In the end, the city is expected to make about $10,000 in profit, she said.
"It was our third year, so we knew what we were doing," DeWild said.
DeWild said the success of the event this year is a good indication that the rink could return again next year, possibly for a full six-week run.
  • Furry friend returns: Brigham is back, thinner but fine overall. The border terrier belonging to Alachua County Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut ran off from her Duck Pond neighborhood home Nov. 16 and was returned to the family last week by a woman who told the Chestnuts she found him wandering near NE 8th Avenue and Waldo Road.
    But Brigham is not the Chestnut's only canine now. Chumley, a pug, was adopted from the shelter after it appeared Brigham would never be found.
    Chestnut said her husband, Charles Chestnut, met the woman at a drugstore near the Chestnut home.
    "Brigham immediately ran to Charles. He checked his mouth for two spots on the tongue and knew it was Brigham," Chestnut said. "Charles said he knew for sure he had Brigham when it rained and thundered one night, and as soon as it started Brigham did his usual run under the bed. He's acting as the big brother and Chumley follows him everywhere."
  • Jumbo Republicans: The Republican Party is super-sizing in Alachua County, not necessarily in membership but in billboards.
    By this afternoon the Alachua County Republican Executive Committee should have erected billboards on NE 39th Avenue, Newberry Road, SW 13th Street and in Alachua.
    Committee Chairman Stafford Jones said the billboards will feature various messages about the economic character of Alachua County. The NE 39th Avenue billboard will be unveiled at a ceremony with political dignitaries today at 10 a.m. and will state that the minority business ownership rate here is "quite a bit lower than the state average," Jones said.
    Different billboards throughout the county and Gainesville will be used in the campaign, and the messages will change.
    "We want to keep the discussion going on what kind of character we really want," Jones said.
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