Ice skating rink delayed again

David Howard, at left, and David Peak, at right, work to complete a 50 feet by 50 feet ice skating park at Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown Gainesville on Thursday.

Doug Finger/Staff Photographer
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.

The downtown Gainesville ice skating rink is going to stay on ice a little longer.

On Thursday, the city announced that the return of the Plaza Ice Palace after a five-year hiatus has been delayed for a second time.

Already pushed back from Nov. 23, the rink's opening now is scheduled for Monday.

City of Gainesville spokesman Bob Woods said the opening was pushed back because of delays in getting the custom-built tent that stands over the rink, and that has led to trouble freezing the ice.

Because of last week's delay, the rink already was scheduled to stay open longer, with the initial closing date of Jan. 6 extended to Jan. 13.

Now, Midwest Display Inc., the company that will operate the rink and put up a holiday decoration display downtown, will offer free skating from Monday to Wednesday.

Under the agreement between Gainesville and Midwest Display, the company will receive no payment from the city government to bring in and operate the rink this year and will give Gainesville a 10 percent cut of admission revenues.

Issues involving the tent for the ice skating rink will also mean the relocation of the city's New Year's Eve concert from the stage at the Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza to a temporary stage set up on an adjacent street, said David Ballard, the city's events coordinator.

Ballard said Midwest Display has offered to cover the costs for a stage rental for that concert, which will include reggae band the Irie Ones and a Rolling Stones tribute by Mick Marino & the Nasty Habits.

The Plaza Ice Palace will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. Prices are $10 per person, including skate rental, for one hour, or $7 per person for those who bring their own skates.

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