City’s ice skating rink extends its run by a fortnight


Just got this release this morning from the city of Columbia:


The City of Columbia has announced that the seasonal ice skating rink in downtown Columbia that was set to close this coming Sunday, January 6, will remain open until the M.L.K. holiday on January 21.

Main Street Ice has become quite a popular attraction since its opening on Thanksgiving Day 2012.  Thousands of area residents and visitors from across the state have made their way onto the ice over the past six weeks, bringing added excitement  into downtown Columbia and increased traffic for surrounding businesses.

“We are pleased that so many have been receptive and supportive of this outdoor ice skating experience thus far and we hope that many more will take advantage of the opportunity to come out now that we are extending our season,” said Jeff Caton, Director of City of Columbia Parks and Recreation.

The ice skating rink will still operate seven days a week. New hours of operation will be as follows:

Monday –Friday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Sunday, 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The rink will operate on special hours on closing day from 11 a.m – 10 p.m.

Skating fees will include skate rentals and will remain at $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 12 and under.  Special senior and military discounts will be offered.

Be sure to head on out to Main Street Ice on Saturday, January 5, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. for special guest appearances by the clowns of RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY® DRAGONS, PLAYING THE COLONIAL LIFE ARENA MARCH 7 – 10, IN THEIR CLOWNING AROUND THE MIDLANDS TOUR.  Come take a picture with Cherie and join her as she laces up her skates and takes her clowning onto the ice! 

The release doesn’t answer my main question, which is… how does the ice stay frozen on days when the temp is in the 60s?

15 thoughts on “City’s ice skating rink extends its run by a fortnight

  1. tavis micklash

    “The release doesn’t answer my main question, which is… how does the ice stay frozen on days when the temp is in the 60s?”

    It has cooling coils of freon interlaced under the ice. These are powered by chillers on site. Its a giant icemaker just like in the freezer.

    Its the same concept as heating tile floors in bathrooms, just uses cooling coils instead of hot water.

    If memory serves the rink cost just north of $100k to lease it for the city. I’m curious to see how much proceeds it brought in.

    I understand its not going to be a zero sum game. Ive heard really good feedback of the businesses around the area.

    This is the type of economic development I like. Its a win win.

    The taxpayers get something they can use, It helps the community and it doesn’t involve choosing 1 business over another. EVERYONE in the area gets the benefits of increased foot traffic.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Yeah, I know. It just seems surprising to me that it works, on warm days. Seems like a dangerous film of liquid water might form on the surface.

    I guess the whole “cold air hugs the ground” thing helps…

    1. Steven Davis II

      “Seems like a dangerous film of liquid water might form on the surface.”

      Dangerous for who, the skaters? There is a slight possibility that they might fall, get knocked out face down and drown.

  3. tavis micklash

    “Yeah, I know. It just seems surprising to me that it works, on warm days. Seems like a dangerous film of liquid water might form on the surface.”

    The trick is to keep the layer thin. The ice freezes flat so that minimizes the surface area that the temp can come in contact with it. A snowball will melt much quicker a flat sheet. Its all about heat transfer surfaces.

    Its why heat exchangers use tubes, Maximizes the surface area.

    “I guess the whole “cold air hugs the ground” thing helps…”

    That actually does help. Its called laminar flow in water systems. The area just above the surface acts as an insulator cutting the the amount of heat transfer (technical term is lowers the heat transfer coefficient). Turbulent flow i.e. the wind disturbs the layer allowing more melting.

    You write for a living. I boil water. yours is much more interesting.

  4. bud

    If this experiment turns out to be a financial success why don’t we make it a permanent fixture during the winter? It could be spruced up a bit to make it not look so dowdy. It appears that the city finally did something that worked.

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    I don’t see the appeal of actually skating there in the tiny space, especially when there are a lot of skaters; my husband said it reminded him of bumper cars. It has indubitably made the area much more appealing at night, though.

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Looks like the extension is not yet official. I just got this release:

    Parks and Recreation staff will seek approval from City Council to extend the operating date for the Main Street Ice skating rink. Parks and Recreation staff have requested that an item be placed on the January 8 City Council agenda, which would grant approval to continue the operations for the ice skating rink until January 21, 2013. This agenda item will be discussed and presented for City Council consideration on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.

  7. JasonG

    This has happened in Greenville. First few years of the ice rink downtown, they ended it just after New Year’s.

    Now it is up most of January. I guess they have the costs for the operation paid so, to where it is cheaper to go a few weeks after the holidays.

  8. Mark Stewart

    Next year, maybe the state could take over and set up a larger rink in front of the State House.

    However, that might make people think about the flag flapping above them. Certainly it would be even more awkward than seeing the state Christmas Tree behind the flag. But what a location for a rink!

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      It would be nicer as a rink there, but would not provide the same business boost as it does in the CMA plaza. It really does significantly enliven the central Main Street area!

    2. tavis micklash

      Its not fair for the state to do this. This is a metro issue. Its fine where it is. Cozy and restrained.

      The State legislator would find some way to muck it up. They would name it after some politician so we knew who to thank.

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