Ice rink opening delayed again, not happening Monday

In this file photo, an ice skater whizzes around the ice-skating rink in Gainesville's Downtown Plaza on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, 2005.

Briana Brough/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 4:11 p.m.

Will hell freeze over before downtown Gainesville’s ice skating rink?

Already delayed twice, the opening of the Plaza Ice Palace was pushed back again Monday.

After a five-year absence from downtown and postponements from Nov. 23 and Nov. 30, the rink was scheduled to open at 4 p.m. Monday.

But the opening again was delayed — this time for repairs to the chiller lines needed to freeze the ice, city spokesman Bob Woods said.

“There are hundreds of chiller lines used to freeze the ice, and there were some cracks in the lines,” said Russell Etling, the city’s cultural affairs programs coordinator. “They need to be in working order to freeze the ice.”

No exact date was given for when the rink could open.

Etling said the city and Midwest Display Inc., the company that will operate and manage the rink, will honor a commitment from last week to offer free skating on the first Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the rink is open.

Unlike companies that operated the rink during its prior half-decade stint on the plaza, Midwest Display will receive no payment from city government. The city also will receive a 10 percent cut of admission revenues.

Last week, the opening scheduled for Friday was pushed back because of a delay in the delivery of the tent that will cover the rink.

The Plaza Ice Palace will be open from 4 p.m.-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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