Thin ice: Citing losses, owners to close skating rink

news-icepark-medThe rink was officially opened on May 1, 1996.
FILE PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

Lee Danielson was right–- an ice rink in Charlottesville is a money-loser. And now the latest owners of the Charlottesville Ice Park, admitting that they've seen losses that "mounted more quickly than we anticipated," reveal they will shut down the Charlottesville Ice Park later this year.

"The reality is that the Central Virginia area, while being enthusiastic about the rink to a degree, does not have enough people interested in skating often enough to support the operation," co-owner Bruce Williamson writes in a remarkably candid open letter to staff, avid skaters, and parents of young skaters.

Williamson, a lawyer, helped purchase the facility in 2003 after Danielson and co-developer Colin Rolph feuded over its viability.  Despite carving off the upstairs party room as retail space (now housing the Eloise boutique), the new owners–- now consisting of Williamson and ex-wife Roberta Williamson–- point to cumulative losses which exceed $850,000 and appear headed toward the million-dollar mark.

Charlottesville's prior year-round ice rink was a corrugated shed-style structure on Greenbrier Drive which opened in 1973. With both a movie theater and the once-venerable Barnaby's pizza parlor located across the street, the Greenbrier rink–- until it closed in 1978–- was a good fit for families.

Similarly, the Charlottesville Ice Park was conceived as an entertainment nexus, but the building far surpassed its predecessor. A cupola-topped, neo-classical design by Hank Browne, the brick-clad Ice Park features an array of tall neo-Palladian windows that let passersby peer inside. The copper-roofed structure opened in 1996 with a dignitary-laden ribbon-cutting led by "I.C. Bear," the facility's mascot.

The months-later opening of the six-screen Regal Cinema (also developed by Danielson-Rolph) combined with the Mall's first auto crossing and a nearby outdoor amphitheater to bolster commerce on what had been an ailing retail district. And in an ongoing effort to extend the renaissance, City Council unveiled a $7.5 million resurfacing of the Mall last year.

Even while planning to list the building and operation for $4.1 million, Williamson explains that recent investments in sound, lighting, and a new Zamboni mean that the owners will lose money despite a purchase price of $3.1 million. The 31,000 square-foot building is currently assessed for tax purposes at $6.5 million.

Pricing it "attractively," Williamson says in a telephone interview, contributes to the likelihood that it will remain a rink, rather than getting cut up for another use, such as shops or offices. Indeed, within three hours of notifying stakeholders of the situation, Williamson says he was contacted by two individuals interested in saving skating.

"I'm delighted and encouraged," says Williamson, "and I hope it continues."

Still, buying a business that consumes copious amounts of space and electricity is no recipe for profits. The Fredericksburg Ice Park, also developed by Danielson and Rolph, got taken over by its landlord in 2005 after allegedly defaulting on its lease, and it unceremoniously closed last year, replaced by an indoor go-kart track.

The catalyst for closing the Charlottesville Ice Park is an impending lease renewal with the owners of an adjacent building that serves as office, skateshop, and food prep space. Faced with inking a five-year lease renewal, team Williamson opted to cut their losses and close the Park sometime after hosting the skating portion of a sports festival called the Coventry Commonwealth Games in June.

The closing threatens not only the hopes of hundreds of would-be Olympic figure skaters, it throws the existence of thriving hockey leagues and even the UVA Men's Hockey Team into question. Team founder Roger Voisinet hopes the community will rally to save what he considers a public asset.

"Think baseball parks and tennis courts make any money?" asks Voisinet.

The City of Charlottesville already operates two golf courses and an indoor swimming pool for public pleasure. Might it want to pick up a rink that's been credited with stimulating the economy?

Mayor Dave Norris says he finds the closing disappointing but that any City salvation would be a last resort at best.

"We'd prefer to see the private sector step in," says Norris. "We're not exactly flush with cash either."

Whatever happens, Williamson says he's glad he and Roberta stepped onto the ice seven years ago when the Park first appeared doomed to meltdown.

"We went into this business with our eyes open," Williamson writes, "and we have kept them open through the years. We have no regrets, and we are happy and proud to have made a  contribution to the life of our city."

–updated 8:43am Sunday with info about Greenbrier rink.
–updated 9:18am Monday with info about Mall resurfacing and golf courses
–updated 11:33am Monday with info about the windows

Read more on: charlottesville ice park

132 comments

How would you feel if all the golf courses went belly up ? Skating is an important recreation and hobby for many, and I hope it can be preserved, using McIntire for true figure skaters is not a possibility.

Sean Hughes-----what planet did you come from?????? to try to hammer Danielson about something years ago, with no facts, seems pretty low...Danielson brought us the idea of the icepark and basically gave vitality to the community. It seems incredulous that you would try to "pin" this on Danielson. Seems like a motive was being advanced here like maybe a "smear"....this is about the community and a great idea that needs to be well thought out. Let the other things go and focus on a SOLUTION instead of trying to advance other agendas.

Rob Are you freaking crazy? Let parks and rec run a rink.That like letting a drunk run a bar. The thing to do is make it a not for profit endeavor .Hire a Manager that's not politically appointed.Pay the help well enough so they care about the place Promote the hell out of it.Put money back into it to keep it the jewel that it could be .Just keep the Local Yocal politicians out of the mix .If they don't keep out it'll take 10 years for them to do anything about it.

Am I crazy? what not for profit organization is going to take that on? The liability insurance alone is out of this world not to mention the up keep of the ice, the equipment to take care of the ice and the building. You have a more than valid point about keeping the politicians out of it but is it realistic? I am new to the area, (3 years) and only live there part time so forgive my ignorance, are there baseball/softball fields or tennis courts run by someone other than the town that are not for profit? It took me 2.5 years before I ever heard there was an ice rink so you're 100% correct about promoting it.

Didn't a center just open nearby for people down on their luck. Maybe they need some recreation, exercise, fun --how about it ?
Then, they wouldn't have to spend all day sitting or walking up and down the Mall.

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Probably the best place for ice skating in Charlottesville would have been in the John Paul Jones Area. They can change the floor between basketball and Monster Trucking, so I don't know why, or if they figured in ice skating. If UVA had a hockey team that thousands of people followed I don't know where you are going to seat them in the current Ice Park. Generally you should have adequate seating on all four sides! LOL Maybe old U-Hall should be the Charlottesville ice rink! At least there is parking and seating.

Maybe the owners of the Ice Park should divide the property up into shares and sell them to all the people who want to keep the Ice Park open. Sell 50% to UVA so they can use their tax exempt status to cut, what must be a ridiculously high property tax burden, in half.

The rink in Hillsborough NC went through the same thing. It was privately owned, ran in to some difficulties now it is owned by the city or county.
Somebody may want to look into how that was done and how they are doing.
Triangle Sportsplex in Hillsborough NC. www.trianglesportsplex.com

We will miss the Ice Park. My children and I were regular visitors and it is where all three of my children learned to skate.

What's next if the city takes over the ice rink? Movie theaters and bars that threaten to close?

If the city is going to be running any businesses downtown, I'd much rather see it open up a good sub shop. Lord knows we could use that or a good Italian place on the mall.

Dear Sa,
According to your logic, the city should not own any baseball feilds, soccer feilds, pools or golf courses.
These serve only a small portion of the local population. I never played soccer or baseball on a city feild in Charlottesville,(but I pay taxes) but I use the Ice Park.
Your near sighted thinking is what hurts our community. If its not your cup of tea, thats fine, but don't ruin it for the whole community.

Just as there are private clubs for golf, tennis, ect. perhaps we need an ice skating club. I was lucky to spend many hours on the ice, as a child, at the Buffalo Skating Club, and perhaps this is a model for our community.

http://buffaloskatingclub.org/

it's not hard to imagine why this park failed, notwithstanding the response from ice sports teams and skaters. it is yet another car-centric attraction to an otherwise glutted carpark masquerading as a commercial and cultural center. the fact that nobody likes to use the new parking garage is not surprising either. both models depend on the most vicarious and undependable patrons, car-commuters. their allegiance is not just fickled but changes as soon as something newer crops up and they reprogram their GPS.
the owners' lack of foresight of this particular type of business is typical of downtown mall developers, just look at the empty spaces and still high rents remaining tenants are paying. no, this space as many will remember, started as a parking lot and will probably end up as the same. Roger Voisinet and the hockey teams need an angel, a John Grisham, Patricia Kluge, Reid Nagle, Gabe Silverman or a Coran Capshaw or John Casteen to keep people on ice here, but the solution is definitely private, not public. our education workforce forecasts are bleak enough and the market must be allowed to speak. the Williamsons have plenty of scratch but even they've had enough and i guess their kids won't be inheriting or getting their hands dirty with the family business.

regardless of the Williamsons' ties to Democratic circles, city council has shown the world what a truly witless group of pandering politicians they truly are and should never be trusted to make investment decisions or enter into future liabilities for the city. a bail-out is untenable. but maybe UVA could continue it's amoeba-like reach to the DTM and capture this arena for students. not impossible but unlikely. i like the curling idea. much better than angry drunk softball under the lights at the Redneck Riviera of McIntire Park.

I would really need to see some data to back up the claim that the ice park is a economic engine for the downtown area. We already know that the ice park clearly doesn't generate enough revenue to sustain itself. It's not at all clear to me as an observer that the ice park lures significant numbers of people to the downtown area who then spend a lot of money at other downtown businesses, who would not otherwise come downtown but for the ice park.

I would think, though I don't know for sure, that it's not really functioning as that kind of lure. And if it's not, no way should the City spend any money to bail it out.

Good point about the bricks--with that money they could own this rink.

I still say the city's idea to invest in an SRO next to the Mall, and encouraging more housing, that is for a population heavily dependent on social services, will only hurt that part of the population that currently needs those services, and encouraging lots of these people who need services to spend their days on the Mall, will drive away paying customers and businesses and make the Mall a less attractive investment. Doing good can sometimes hurt those you want to help.

To support teachers and other services, the City better protect the Mall as a desirable business investment.

Would this be louder than drumming ?

The ice rink really is an economic engine for the downtown area. The numerous practices and skating times each week bring in people from all around central Virginia and even as far as Harrisonburg. I know after my practices I used to go over to Christian's Pizza for dinner, and almost everyone else and their families did the same. In addition the travel teams bring even more people in from as far away as the Pittsburgh area into Charlottesville. They stay at our hotels, they eat at our restaurants.

The Ice Park does have a Figure Skating Club, and a hockey association. There are multiple private leagues sponsored by Sperry Marine. All of these groups spend thousands a year just to play, not to mention park and eat downtown.

The city should not step in and save the rink, the public needs to save it by patronizing it more. Show potential buyers that we really want it. People like myself and all of the others who play hockey, figure skate, or frequent the Ice Park would love to be able to save it ourselves but we need help.

Please show up and skate!

I Got it One of the Major Land Barron will step in and they can play indoor polo on miniature horses or ponies and say its now a farm and pay mo taxes again !

Hi folks. For those who have valid questions like " Where are the public skates?" i can give youa few ideas/reasons.

My understanding from an older guy who owned and ran a rink successfully was that while public skating is generally the most porfitable per hour, it is also the least dependable. You've got to build your rink around the steady programms like hockey and figure skating.

Public skating had a lot of slots whe the rink opened, and a lot of people came and got involved. They paid for 2 off duty officers and it was wild. But as the newness wore off, and the weekday skates get lighter, you find yourself wondering if it's better to just have the flat ice time fee versus a risk of public skating. The last time I asked - and its been years - the CIP had pretty high rates for an hour of icetime versus other locations. No surprise considering the location and venue. Worthwhile definitely.

So, the question becomes, is the public skate demand high enough, that it gets more time allocated, and the hockey teams can get pushed back to later times, with little kids practices earlier. I will play hockey later. I also think public skate can be offered during the quiet day hours as well.

I like Bruce and Roberta and very much appreciate what they did, but I myself have wondered about the PR, or lack thereof, and basically being out there letting people know important things like times and availability.

I think the CIP can be saved and I think skaters are willing to pay higher prices. It's cheaper than taking your kid to a movie.

The radio ads I've heard basically since I moved to C'ville back in 2006. They've been on for some time.

yepper Well maybe the whole of C-Ville isn't as "cool" as everyone thinks.Maybe downtown is a failure ! Maybe the powers that be should be more "National Business" friendly and take the money they offer up for coming here.Maybe the local government has been wrong all along and the populous bit it hook line and sinker. Maybe its all been Bull S@#t and we're all starting to smell it now. JUST MAYBE!

Yepper The Old Dominion Is a Mid Atlantic state not south eastern!

Better and more parking. May even consider parking lot spaces that are big enough for cars that people really drive.
Less bums.
Less cool people beating the drums or strumming the banjo.
More police or security presence.

I am just one little voice who avoids downtown like the plague.

I grew up in skating at, working in, and loving the Charlottesville Ice Park. I can truly atest to the value of the Ice Park. It was a place that kept myself and many of my friends busy and active, it was also a place where as a hockey player or a figure skater you found your refuge, it was for me, and is for many, a home away from home. I will be very sad if it closes. It is a valuable place to the city and the Downtown Mall. Skating taught me many values that I keep as an adult today, and I know it still is teaching these values of hard work and persistance for all of the youth who recreate there, and yes I still there. I truly hope someone can step in and keep it an ice rink.
And for those of whom did not and never have enjoyed it, please keep your thoughts on its closing to yourself, just as you would not want someone to degrade your sport or hobby if your place of choice and activity were closing. Just because the Ice Park was not valuable to you, does not mean its potential closing is not heartbreaking to those who love it.

C-Ville- the ice park has been a fix in daily life for all families who chose to utilize it. It has provided a place for families and friends to come together. It's sad it's closing. Mr Danielson was right by selling it (though forced because Colin thought it was viable, mr d knew it wouldn't work). The skeleton which some refer to aka the hotel on the mall isn't of Antibes faut but the "big money" mr minor. A falure to pay the loan means one thing, the banks property. For any smart American, budgets are tight and payments ate key. Mr Minor had the cash but refused to pay. He should pay the city sfg and ld for his falure to close on the deal. Sfg like any small bank makes loans to make money, when people (hm) don't pay they lose money. Buying the property of the ice park and making a central place for the city may prove to be a good thing. If only the city were to support the rest of the mall to bring in more comerce. Maybe well know more after hm pays up and the records shown. RIP ice park, but good luck to the future buyers of a great piece of historic land!

Yeah well there are a few left and they would be 100% more useful as places to put cars.

The parking situation downtown's not helping this business.

No one will forget about curling!

We few, we happy few, we band of curlers;
For he to-day that sweeps the ice with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This sport shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in Cville now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That curled with us at Charlottesville Ice Park!

Huzzah!!!

I want to second what Keith Rosenfeld said earlier.

A big thank you is due to both Bruce and Roberta, an outstandingly kind and down to earth set of owners. But it's also due to the other employees at the rink, all of whom have done their best to squeeze water out of a rock.

Since Jen Blanchard took over as hockey director there has never been a shortage of players or teams. In fact, if you don't sign up early enough, you won't get to play because demand is that high.

That said, while this is one of the best looking rinks that you'll come by, there is no doubt in my mind that if the City of Charlottesville had not forced in the giant windows during the initial planning � windows that allow the sun to go to work on the ice as well as allowing heat to radiate in � perhaps operation costs would have been lower. There is a reason most rinks look like Pepsi cans and not like museums.

But nonetheless, here’s hoping that the community can rally to save the building that put the Downtown mall back on the map. For those old enough, try to remember what the mall looked like in 1994. It’ll be a shame to loose this place.

170k a year is 500 dollars a day.

What else could the city do with an extra 500 dollars a day?

Thank you to everyone who has expressed a desire to keep the ice park open. Seeing so much support is really encouraging.

Please consider joining the Facebook group "Save the Charlottesville Ice Park," particularly if you have ideas on exactly how to do this. Hopefully we can put words into action.

Numerous other cities have city/county owned rinks. I believe there's 2 in Baltimore, 1 in Cabin John, 1 in Wheaton .. it's not like it's a new concept.

I'll have to echo Megan's sentiment on the rink closing.. when I was being relocated and had a choice of places to move to, a huge part of why we chose Charlottesville was the fact there was an ice rink here. Without an ice rink, it's going to accelerate us moving away, no question about it. While I'm sure that basing where you live on an ice rink sounds crazy to some, it's nonetheless how we feel -- hockey has been a part of our lives for 12+ years, and we look forward to having our kids play the sport as well.

Hopefully some sort of City/County/UVA partnership can be done. If the rink lost $850,000 in 5 years, it would need $170,000 a year to break even. That seems like a small amount per year to keep an 'anchor' of the Downtown Mall that stimulates business and provides a value to the area open to the public.

I am hoping to not come across as heartless and politicaly incorrect but with all that people have given to those in different countries why can't we start a local campaign to buy the ice park and run it as a part of the local parks and recreations? I understand there are insurance costs with this kind of thing but so many have made the point of how this benefits not only those who use it and enjoy it but the hotels and restaraunts around it benefit so much as well. Young people (teens) in this area have very limited options as it is, taking another away is asking for trouble. A publicly ownder and operated skate rink that off sets it cost by holding hockey tournaments and renting skates as well as ice time for parties isn't an option really? How much would we miss 2 or 3 dollars a month each in this town?

Permit me to call a brief timeout in the proceedings and take a moment to thank Roberta and Bruce Williamson for all they have done over the past many years.

The rink failed years ago and they stepped up and supported all of us to the tune of $1 million out of their own pockets.

Those of us who care so much about skating and the rink should do whatever we can to help it survive. But, let's also thank the two people who supported us all for many years.

Thanks, Bruce and Roberta!

The true downside of this is that the village elders are now going to have to pay millions to have the skating rink PR pulled from all their websites and literature. Maybe they can just refer to the derelict building a few blocks from the rusted out unfinished hotel.

Our village slogan says, "A great place to live for all of our citizens." Maybe it should be changed to "A great place to live for all of our citizens (unless you like ice skating or stadium seating)."

Back to smoking a few cigs near my kids. The C-Ville pastime.

Since the ice park is going to be closed perhaps a city/county private public partnership could be done with a covered outdoor rink (open air) at Mcintire. They already have the zamboni and equipment, why sell it at a liquidation price. Perhaps they could get some sort of a private loan interest only like a coop and charge an admission fee enough to cover it. They could also lease it out for parties and fund raisers.

Perhaps it could be a roller rink in summer and an ice rink in winter.

It could also double as a renatble pavillion in the summer for weddings etc.

There may be some way to keep some ice events here without nailing the taxpayers.

Hi, BuffaloGirl. Just to clarify your hometown situation: The Buffalo Skating Club does not own and operate the two rinks with which it has associations--The State College Ice Arena and the North Buffalo Ice Rink. Likewise, the Charlottesville Figure Skating Club (CFSC) does not own and operate the Ice Park. This is a common model: figure skating clubs that are members of U.S. Figure Skating, such as our club here in Cville and the Buffalo Skating Club, are not rink operators. They are associations of figure skaters and exist to host competitions, sponsor various teams, hold test sessions, and serve figure skaters in the community. The CFSC's revenues come from members' dues and the extremely modest sums we make from competitions and test sessions. Suffice to say, we mostly break even on our activities.

Ice sports, which are an ingrained part of the culture in a city like Buffalo, are relative newcomers in the South. We are doing our best both to serve our current members and find ways to increase membership.

We apologize that the CFSC link is down. The club is run by parents who all have day jobs, and we have just recently embarked on a revamping of our site. Bad timing for us.

As for your question about lessons: If you visit the homepage of the Ice Park, you can find information about the Skating School, which has been extremely popular in our community and whose programs have been at capacity. Group classes in figure skating are offered through the Ice Park, not through the club. Many current CFSC members are skaters who started in the Skate School and decided to take their engagement with the sport to the next level. Currently, there are no ice-dance classes available, but we do have many skaters who are ice dancers and take lessons at the Ice Park from various coaches who specialize in ice dance.

I hope all this helps clarify the relationship between the Ice Park and the Charlottesville Figure Skating Club.

How about a Charlottesville Curling League. it seems to work for bowling!

As an employee, patron, and lover of the Charlottesville Ice Park I am deeply saddened by this news. The ice rink provides a one of a kind experience and I have seen it bring joy to many children.

The closure of the rink for me and for the other hockey players, particularly the children, would be like the county closing Darden Towe to soccer players. These kid's hopes and dreams are embodied in the Ice Park, this is something they love and that I could not imagine life in Charlottesville without.

I kindly ask that as many people as possible patronize the Charlottesville Ice Park over the next few months and show how deeply the city supports this facility.

The city will need to finish the new hotel on the mall before they can adopt an ice skating rink. :)

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"As a long-time resident of Ch’ville, this is the second time an ice skating rink has failed. Take the hint. Capitalism does work, it just sometimes means a business is not meant to be. Don’t waste taxpayer dollars on what is supposed to be a private business. Our government does not have to own every darn business that is failing!"

Quoting since this deserves repeating! Our public school teachers' benefits are a bigger priority than buying a failing business.

But, if business fails on the downtown mall, not only will you not have benefits as teacher; you won't have jobs

I took figure skating lessons at CIP for five years as a kid, and I'm extremely sad to hear this news. As a resident of Greene, I gladly battle traffic and drive all the way downtown to go skating.

What's going to happen to I.C. Polar?

As a long-time resident of Ch'ville, this is the second time an ice skating rink has failed. Take the hint. Capitalism does work, it just sometimes means a business is not meant to be. Don't waste taxpayer dollars on what is supposed to be a private business. Our government does not have to own every darn business that is failing!

This is an important economic engine for downtown, as Skater explains, coming all the way from Greene. The City would be foolish to lose this draw for the city . Instead of a million dollars for affordable housing, the city would be smarter to maintain the economic base they have, in order to maintain services for schools, and the high proportion of their citizens already below the poverty line.

Someone, please save the ice rink !

Bet ya If UVA Had a real "NCAA" team this place would be the gem of downtown . Lets Get the university to get that team and produce a winner. They have shovel ready project money lying around lets spend it on something that already up.What would a team cost 1 mil to start 4 mill for the rink 100k for new seats . Allot cheaper than the football refurb "For losers" the 2mil for B-Ball coach "Losers" give it a shot Roger as coach hes a winner in everything he does just do it UVA

The ice rink is a major part of the ambiance of the city. It brings a vitality to the community that few communities have. The city cannot maintain on its "history" alone. The city must constantly reinvent itself and maintain a position of quality and desirability. Main Street can go backwards to pre-mid nineties or it can be a first class area that provides a quality place for people to spend money and congregate thus bringing in tax revenues and raising property values. Perhaps a 1/2 percent increase in sales tax (or something like that) would help pay for the continued upgrading of the community treasure, Main Street. It gives pride to all Charlotesvillians and cannot go downhill or it will take another twenty years to revitalize again. Raise the bar and don't ever lower it. The area has come too far to lose it because of short term financial issues. Thanks to those who brought it to us and to those who will continue. Also, why didn't the prior owners ever contest the tax appraiser? There is no way that building is worth $6M.

"How about a Charlottesville Curling League. it seems to work for bowling!"

That's just what this town needs; A bunch of fat drunk guys throwing and chasing 44 pound rocks, with brooms...on ice. The sideline "action" on who would bust their head open first, could make for a raucous good time! Kind of like auto racing; You go to see the race, but surreptitiously hope for a major crash directly in front of the stands where you are seated.

Id be sad to see the ice rink go, but Id welcome an indoor go-kart track like Fredericksburg if that was an option

If the roller rink is going to bump Ying Yang "Whistle While You Twerk" - Im there

In a web-search of Charlottesville, over and over, one of the amenities of our town is a year round ice rink. I still believe this is an important economic amenity for the Mall, and the City would be unwise to lose it.

http://www.emarotta.com/charlottesville.php

How about turning the venue into a roller rink? A roller rink can help break down the obvious social/racial barriers around the downtown area, and be a bit more accessible than an ice rink. Plus, there is an independently run women's roller derby team, Charlottesville Derby Dames, who still need a legitimate place to practice, and bout.

Check out the tough, sexy ladies in Fishersville's Augusta Expoland on March 7, because this Charlottesville based sports team doesn't have a venue in it's hometown.

I always knew, even when they were building the thing, that the numbers would never work...
Now it's a nice idea to have a civic amenity like this, but it'll never be self supporting and a nice deal where the city picks it up for a song and it's run as a "parks and recreation" civic project would be a good outcome. After all the city runs other civic amenities at a loss already.

Now the "Landmark Hotel" is a graver matter...Our very own "Skelotor" to grace our skyline. That's an interesting thing since it has no future whatsoever as a highline hotel and never did other than in someone's vain imaginings ...
It's future life as an office building or apartment building require that its future owners pick it up for free since the cost to complete will neutralize rental income for years to come...

I like ice --please

BuffaloGirl, we DO have an ice skating club -- the Charlottesville Figure Skating Club. The fact that you don't know about it, and probably very few people know about it, is telling, but I doubt a higher profile would've led to the 400 additional weekly public skating admissions the ice park says it needs to break even.

As a fledgling figure skater, this is about the worst news I could get (short of my house burning down or the death of someone close), and I'm sure the kids who spend hours skating there every week, whose parents have invested thousands of dollars into their skating, are feeling even worse. Hometown Hockey Player is right, this is like soccer players losing Darden Towe and SOCA. I moved to the Charlottesville area as an adult, and frankly the ice park has been one of the biggest factors in keeping me here. If it closes, I'll be looking for a new hobby or perhaps a new hometown.

I would have gladly frequented this space, but much to my chagrin, my son never wanted to ice skate, or learn how to ice skate. All because he fell a few times when he was younger! He's just not interested in ice skating, period.

OK, how about a SKATE park? That'll be for the Roller Derby Dames, Skateboarders, and Roller Skaters/Rollerbladers... My son would go to that skate park all the time! As long as it's not on ice, he'll skate!

You start off the article stating Lee Danielson was right! Well first he had to be wrong by bringing in investors to build it to begin with! Danielson draws salaries that these investors pick up! The only thing that's made money on that building besides Danielson is the copper on the roof! It was originally going to be baked on finish and I laughed and told Mr. Rolph it's only 15% more for copper. That was then. Price it now, even in a horrible economy. Your welcome!

Why not turn the thing into a permanent indoor market? Get those tacky-ass scarf mongers off the bricks and make them rent stalls, and throw in some vegetable markets, energy-balancing & tarot stands and you've got a bazaar that will atract business (or at least get the crappy vendors off the Hauptfussgangergebiet).

Does anyone know how many serious head or neck injuries have taken place at the ice park?

I tried to google Charlottesville Skating Club, and said " oops link appears to be broken", lack of visibility may be part of the problem. Everyone in Buffalo knew about that skating club, I'll bet few in Charlottesville are aware of this . Do you offer ice dance lessons, how would I find out if there is no web-site ?

Poolry run. The electronic sign outside the Ice Park is updated on Fridays. That means that for Sunday-Thursday the sign advertised old events. Weekends draws in the crowds for hockey and public skating but by placing events on Fridays on the sign, it is to late, it gives you less the 12 hours to see what happening that weekend. I asked the management several times to update the sign on Monday so people have time to read and schedule their weekend at the ice park, but if fell on deaf ears.

Dear readers,
I am figure skater at the Charlottesville ice park, and I just want to tell everyone that closing the ice rink would crush everyone at the charlottesville ice park's dreams and goals. Also, closing the ice park would bring down the attendance of the downtown mall and would make the street vendor's and other shop's worried that they will lose business also. everyone has put so much of their lives into this sport, and a lot of time. Also, closing the ice park would make many people jobless, and in these tough economic times, it's very hard to find another job, especialy if you're a figure skating coach. This would happen because they only specialize in one thing, figure skating.

I wonder if the skaters would be willing to pay a lot more. Maybe and ACAC would want to manage it, with a member discount.

Lee Danielson, Sean Hughes, mythatsoundssuspecious: I think it is fair to bring up LD's reputation, as we are all suffering from the ugly shadow cast by that hotel skeleton looming over Central Place. (By the way, why doesn't Central Place have a better name, like Pippin Place or something?)

I know everybody thinks Halsey Minor is the crazy bat in that dispute, but I have yet to see a refutation that it might be an inflated development deal brokered by a crooked bank. Silverton Bank Specialty Finance Group, Atlanta, liquidated by the FDIC, the similar hotel deal in Milwaukee, etc., see my previous posts on the subject.

Why doesn't Charlottesville just follow Canada's lead and flood the Downtown Mall each winter? Nothing produces great hockey players better than skating on frozen pond.

I just learned of the plans to close the rink the other day. I hope it stays an ice rink, but I don't want to get my hopes up. I've skated there for a very long time and have developed friendships with many skaters and staff there... I would do almost anything to keep it up and running.

What does Roger Voisinet have to do with the hockey teams?

If the ice park was an economic engine for the dtm, then it was an epic failure. So many storefronts are shuttered.

Obviously we need a much better engine of economic activity than an ice rink. We are in the southeastern United States, not Canada.

The Charlottesville ice park is the most unique and beautiful skating facility I have ever visited . I have enjoyed how the Jeffersonian windows brings the outside into the inside and vice versa while feeling warmer in the winter and cool in the summer heat.

My thanks and gratitude go to the ownwers for providing and carrying this remarkable form of good, clean fun , and healthy exersize for our community . It will be a loss to see the park close. I hope some entrepenure will step up and build the buisness up . Or if not , possibly both the University AND the City could co-own the rink as a buisness venture making for a nice "Town and Gown" gesture .

T&G

To those who expressed suggestions for other ice park uses, some are fantastic--an indoor market, a roller rink (yay, Derby Dames!) But there are many many folks who figure skate/play hockey, broomball, etc. On weekend nights I see a wide cross-section of the Cville community skating.

While it's true that competitive figure skating is an expensive sport (ask any of us skating moms!), learn to skate classes are no more expensive than many other individual sports in town. Many children--and adults--take skating lessons just for fun. I can also understand those who get frustrated when they can't skate during freestyle sessions (reserved for skaters who are being coached). But try to understand that it's impossible for competitive skaters to take lessons or practice during public sessions; the safety issues alone are paramount, but so is needing the space to practice programs, jumps, etc. Facilities that have two rinks can accommodate both recreational skaters, hockey and figure skating. If we really had the ideal facility, it would be in a more spacious spot with room for parking and two rinks. But we don't, and I don't see anyone stepping up to build a new rink.

My daughter has found herself as an figure skater. She tried many sports--team and individual--but it was skating that has kept her going through may ups and downs of life. She is a competitive skater and has great potential. But if CIP closes, I can't see how I'd be able to drive her to Richmond or Lynchburg for practice and lessons frequently enough for her to keep improving.

And BuffaloGirl, although there aren't group ice dance lessons, individual lessons are definitely offered at the rink. We have ice dancers from Cville, Fredericksburg, and other locales who come here to take lessons and practice (and test). Maybe you can sneak some lessons in during the spring, and if the rink remains open, you can continue!

If anyone questions the value of the rink, come to the St. Patrick's Day Open Figure Skating Competition on March 13 (all day) or the Commonwealth State Games event on June 19. Skaters come from all over Virginia, NC, Washington, and elsewhere, stay in town, shop and eat on the mall. And that's just two events--there are plenty of hockey games and other events that draw people from outside the area.

A Charlottesville Curling League would be great! I've often wanted to do this on a co-rec level. That could be another revenue source that could make the rink profitable.

My son has been playing hockey at the ice park since we moved here when he was 5. The friendships made there with kids from all over central VA are invaluable. As are the experiences gained by playing in a team sport like ice hockey. For example, back in January the Washington Capital invited some of our youth to play an exhibition during the intermission of a sold out game. they got to play in front of 19,000+ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QtOVA8F0pc)
The presence of the ice park certainly does contribute to the DTM business. I know I ofter bring my other children with me to games and practices. Practices are often at meal times. It is not uncommon for us and other families to eat at Christian’s or another local eatery. During those early morning games there are gallons of Mud House coffee being consumed. Our travel teams compete in a league largely made up of teams from NOVA and So. MD. so when those teams travel here to play they often schedule 2 or three games over the course of the weekend. Those teams stay at local hotels and dine at local eateries.
I do think there are things that can be done from marketing perspective to increase traffic to CIP. Can any recall ever seeing an ad in print or on TV for CIP? How about your kids coming home from school with a flyer about skating lessons or hockey leagues?
Losing CIP would be a big loss for the community.

One of the useful things a government can do is provide services that could not affordably be provided in a free market. That's why governments are the main (but not sole) providers of parks, schools, fresh water, trash collection, and other things that if users had to pay the fair market price for we'd all have heart attacks. With the financial collapse of CIP, our government will have to decide whether to treat the ice park as such a service, based on the amount of use demanded by voting constituents (and figuring out whether they are primarily city residents or county dwellers who would be free-loading on the city's largesse), and wehther NOT stepping in and letting the CIP be boarded up will have an unacceptably adverse economic impact on the downtown mall and related city revenue. It all boils down to whether Cville views the CIP as an integral part of the mall, such that overall mall survival is jeopardized by the CIP going down, and whether the CIP itself is a highly enough valued resource to keep it going even when there is no chace of it being profitable (just like a park has none). For those who want to keep the CIP alive, my advice is to lobby the city hard on the family rec front, do some research showing how much money streaming to downtown businesses will be lost by the CIP dying, and figure out a way to avoid the city concluding that if they setp in they are doing it only for county residents who don't pay city property taxes (and barely pay any in the county). For those of you who take some kind of perverse joy in seeing the CIP go under, please remember to vote on the next Wednesday on which elections are held.

It is sad indeed but business is business. The City should not even considering purchasing the Ice Park. I understand the loss it will be to some, but there are obviously not enough of those individuals in our area to support this type of business. To use public funds to further an entertainment business that does not serve a larger portion of our local population and is not on it's own a draw for tourism, would be foolish in any economy but would be an outrage in these economic times.

Maybe set up 100 tables and establish a five minute date/get aqcuainted roundtable session (at 20 bucks per) venue two days per week and skate the remaining days supported by the date profits.

Might at least stop the "where do I go to meet men/women" whiners.

Confused - I'm really confused. You bash the city, cry about suburban moms and their spoiled kids, make statements that would have someone believe politicians in Cville can't run a mini mart yet you fail to try and offer a solution or an idea on how to better this community. Let me make one for you. Move. I hear Florida has several flea markets.

with Lynda and Blinkers. I wanted to take my fiance skating 2-3 three weeks ago in the evening after work...fired up icepark.com to check on hours/rates only to be thoroughly disappointed.

It's known that Ice Rinks are generally not great money makers, but sustaining one should not be an issue. What effort has management made to improve business?

The skating and hockey programs seem to have a lot of effort behind them. But the general rink itself has been left a shambles. It's never clean, there isn't even any toilet paper in the women's bathrooms! the stall doors are hanging off the hinges. Customer service is extremely distasteful, apart from a few obviously dedicated employees.

The public skating times are ridiculously scheduled, how can you expect anyone to come and skate when they are at work or school???
The only times available are those few times on the weekends when the ice rink is booming with business, this is obviously not enough to keep the Ice Park in business so why not make the schedule more friendly to the public, which are potential feeders to the hockey and figure skating programs? For example, having evening skates during the week!

There isn't even a sign outside! their little digital sign does nothing to let passers by know the contents of the building or even skating times. Skaters don't care who's birthday it is, they want to know when they can come and skate, that's the purpose of an ice rink, right? So why not start with an eye catching sign that says Charlottesville Ice Park?

Yes, I have to agree that advertisement has taken an increase in the last....week!!! Where was this two weeks ago, or two years ago?
Waiting until the business is in serious trouble is too long, the effort could have been put in a long time ago.

So i say this, before you look at the Ice Park itself to blame for losses, look at how it's run... straight into the ground.

if someone steps in with enough desire and motivation to make this wonderful place as successful as possible and not an embarrassment, that will truly be a gift the community, it's skaters and the few dedicated employees that work there.

Good points Blinkers.. had no idea there were basically no evening public skate times during the week. Most of the hockey leagues I've played in other cities would have late weeknight start times, or later weekend start times.. here in Charlottesville, the games this season start at 5pm on Sundays and 8:30pm on Mondays.

In Ashburn, I think we also played Sunday/Monday, but had game times as late as a 11pm start. I have no clue what's going on in the rink on weeknight evenings, but moving the hockey program to late nights during the week and at least freeing up Sunday evening for public skating would seem like a smart move.

Too bad the state bought bisquit run... instead of having an old farm sit there waiting on federal funds we could be collecting 325k in taxes ot while it sat there waiting for the economy to recover.

You could have made a deal to use 200k of it to subsidize the rink for city/county use and used the other 125k to keep the scottsville library open.

"The liability insurance alone is out of this world not to mention the up keep of the ice, the equipment to take care of the ice and the building." Well, that explains why it's a bad business model, but it certainly doesn't explain why the city ought to get involved. The people who run the city can hardly manage what's already on their plate. If the city took over the ice rink, the costs would only go sky high as extra levels of incompetent management were piled on. A lose, lose proposition if ever there were one. (Feel free to read that as "loose, loose" if that makes you more comfortable)

It will make a nice flea market though, and I'm psyched for that!

This would be a horrible loss for the Central Virginia community. I have many fond memories of ice skating at the Ice Park. People will certainly miss this resource once it's gone!

A seasonal rink at McIntire or anywhere else would be nice for the community and far better than nothing, but "Skater" is right. It would not be of much benefit to the local figure skaters and hockey players.

Why would it not be good for the hockey players? football basketball and baseball all manage to do ok with seasons?

I get skaters point about training for the olympics but that is hardly the responsibility of the taxpayers.

flounder, I think you are clueless about the sport of ice skating, didn't you watch any of the olympics, it's not a seasonal sport.

Sad to see that the owners have to abandon their investment and cut the losses. The rink will be missed by many. HOWEVER, I can say the few times I frequented the rink it was on a weekend night and the ice was so cut up, real skating was next to impossible. One night the staff was more worried about getting one of their drunk hockey players off the ice with the general public. I did go to one "public skate" during the day only to be constantly knocked off the ice by a class that was going on with two figure skaters. So that fact that this business isn't doing well isn't surprising due to the economy and what I have experienced as a casual skater. Miss it, I will...but a roller rink would be a great asset as well as a go-kart track...lack of parking (yeah, there is a garage, but really....) will defintely make any business that takes that space a challenge.

As far as the city taking it over and running it...how's about killing the "Art in Place" program and use that money? Opps, sorry someone may not like that either....

Due to the economy, I think the city should do what is right for ALL it's people and not worry about special interest groups.

robbie It seems to me that you had the only major head injury at the rink ! A Da

How many one story buildings are built in downtown Charlottesville? This one. It will be torn down if bought by an economic user.

Cost of alternative uses? Too much. Raze.

How would you feel if all the golf courses went belly up ?
***
That would be awesome. They would make great forests or meadows.

Skater.. so if you can't have it all you want nothing?

Nothing might just be what you get if your going to be a baby about it.

The place is losing a grand a day... I suppose you think the taxpayers should just cough that up because a seasonal rink at Mcintire wouldn't be good enough?

I hope the rest of the skaters are not as self centered as you.

There are other cities with publicly owned ice rinks. I know there is even one in Northern Colorado that is a making money for the city. Maybe Norris should investigate this rather than making off the cuff comments about not being interested in saving a potential moneymaker.

Those who think the ice park does not help the downtown mall businessnes, think again. IN fact, from an economical point of view, the ice park probably generates more income for the surrounding businesses than it does for itself. When the seasons are on and the travel teams are having games, the Omni has overnight residents of an entire tea, and the restaurants get all the families to eat. But the ice park just gets the fee for 1.5 hours of ice team for a game.

As others have observed, the ice park would cost far less than rebricking the mall, and would do more for the local businesses there.

If money can be found for a stupid water park, money can be found for the ice park. City residents had to give up a downtown park for the Pavilion, they are supposed to give up McINtyre for a road that benefits the county AND to the YMCA. How about giving some park back to the taxpayers?

With the end of the ice park, pretty much any attraction the Downtown Mall held for me is gone, and frankly, downtown living as a whole. Downtown living was supposed to be convenient, and now, with everything being flattened for restaurants, and, well restaurants, what the heck is left? OK, the bi weekly Met live broadcasts at the Paramount. But thatÃ?â?º about it.

We need the ice park. I think other uses can be found, for example, yes, the drumming, with mats put down over the ice and some late night events.

At the current valuation of that property what could possible support the purchase/lease and taxes? But maybe a market isn't so bizarre an idea Sir/Mdm Oral Flatulence.

Faneuil Hall is one of downtown Boston's tourist anchors: http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/?q=visitor

Thank you Amy, I'm sorry you may lose this beautiful facility, and hope that doesn't happen. Private lessons are expensive, but if ice dance classes become available I would be interested and hope your web-site will be up and running soon.

"The Market" does not believe in tears, and it has spoken, has been speaking since that thing was built..
GBSOE raises a good point about parking which is a millstone around the necks of all Mall-Rats. Many people have posted fatuities such as "if only we who love it would just go there more often"..yadyada.

Using it as an indoor Bazaar is a quaint notion, but it's economically....well, bizarre..

Facts are, if I got the place for free and ran it for 10 years I'd lose money on it as the good judge did..White Elephants bleed red ink and in this economy anyone contemplating buying the property at its asking price may crunch the numbers and get cold feet.I said when they built it the city would end up owning it and I still say so...it's just a question of when..

By the way, the city would do better with the ice park than they did with those electric buses they got a few years back.

This could be a wonderful venue for many reasons. It's a healthy way to stay fit and keep your youngsters' away from drug infested venues. Advertisement is a must to draw people from all over he state. School groups, business groups, any orgainization that would love to take to the ice would not only bring revnue to the rink but to the surrounding hotels eatery if groups booked for a weekend away like they do for Wintergreen..It can work with everyones help. It's is a Good investment for many reasons. Just advertise and let people know it is available. Alot of your colleges would love to bring their groups there for a weekend of relaxing and fun. Don't let a good thing like this get away. Advertise and get bookings. It can work.it's wonderful way to social for all.

Looks like the not for profit, skating club model, has not worked.

UVa vs VT in hockey draws over 5,000 people in Roanoke. There are hockey fans in Va.

Charlottesville does have a figure skating club, a not-for-profit group, sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating, that serves all figure skaters in the area. The club hosts competitions and test sessions at the Ice Park, and also supports a local Theatre on Ice team, which has won international competitions the past several years. Many individual skaters who have represented the Charlottesville Figure Skating Club in competitions at other rinks in the South Atlantic region have either won or placed in their division. The Charlottesville Figure Skating Club has many devoted members who are crushed by this news. Club members, children and adults alike, have been pursuing their sport with passion. Recently, the club has welcomed figure skaters from Fredericksburg, whose rink closed last year, and from Prince William County, whose rink roof collapsed last month. The closing of the Ice Park would put an end to the dreams of many.

The Ice Park is also home to an extremely engaged hockey community, much larger than the figure skating club. The loss of this facility would be a devastating blow for all these skaters and for the city of Charlottesville, which would have to contend with yet another failed project in the heart of downtown.

I'm going to note the part of the article that says that a rink was replaced by an indoor go-cart track.

Kinda sounds snobby to me... "Gods forbid our precious rink close for a blue collar go-kart track."

There should be a way to calculate the economic advantage of keeping the ice rink downtown.

Ya know maybe if the city hadn't spent a boat load of money on New Bricks , there may have been some funds for this business.They seem to spend money on what the people who have money on. in town. how about spending it on something "all" the people may need.Let the city take it over its no different than dare I say a city "Golf " Course .The rink just isn't Jeffersonian enough for downtown. As for curling don't knock it til you try it. The $6mil assessment, is why the guy cant afford the taxes that's why he cant make a go of it Just like everything else in C-Ville its over price to keep any "Locals" from buying it or running it. Bet ya if some developer wants to turn it into lofts or condo the city would help out big time.

It will make a really nice indoor mini mall/office. The current owners will make a lot of money on the new building. And the City Council who wanted it to a public space have long ago been forgotten as their voices have faded

I appreciate these comments. There are many things that people are scared to say to our elected officials that need to be said, and I hope they are reading this.

3.12.10 / News
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA ââ?¬â?? The Men’s Club Ice Hockey Team at the University of Virginia wishes to release the following summary of its position regarding the announcement of the Charlottesville Ice Park as available for purchase.
First, we would like to acknowledge the current ownership and management of the Ice Park for their support of Club Ice Hockey at the University of Virginia over the years. It is because of our strong relationship that ice hockey continues to thrive in Charlottesville and at the university.
Next, we support the continued operation of an ice hockey rink in the current space on the downtown mall and will do our part in contributing to the success of a new generation of ownership. It is extremely rare for a club ice hockey team to have such immediate access to a professionally maintained ice surface and this is critical for our recruiting and hockey operations, as well as ticket sales and sponsorships. The closing or redevelopment of the Charlottesville Ice Park may disrupt our team’s activities in the short term.
ââ?¬Å?The Charlottesville Ice Park provides a unique opportunity to integrate the entire community. Children, students, and long-time residents can each find entertainment and recreation at this pillar of the downtown mall,” said head coach Tony Fischer. ââ?¬Å?We hope a courageous group of owners will come along and do the right thing.”
Media are encouraged to contact Chris Branin, braninc10@darden.virginia.edu, for further information.
The Men’s Club Ice Hockey Team at the University of Virginia is a non-scholarship club team at the University of Virginia. The Team competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference Hockey League under the governance of the American Collegiate Hockey Association and is not supported by nor affiliated with the University of Virginia Athletics Department.

Not sue what I said last time to get moderated. Maybe I was too harsh on the City Government or Danielson. Didn't mean to be insulting but this issue has bothered me for a while. I simply stated that in these times when our winters are severe that how easy would it have been for the City to flood a part of Mcintire park to allow a inch or two of ice to freeze so there could be public outdoor rink. Skate rentals could be taken care of by an entrepreneur thus allowing a business to be created and whatever taxes that could be generated for city and/or parks....

Biggest problem sounds like location, no parking and if you want to mingle on the downtown mall you have to share it with the smelly hippie freaks that infest it. Tear down the worthless Vinegar Hill buildings and turn them into a Downtown parking lot, and round up all the dreadlocked drugheads into a cowcatcher and deposit them into the empty padlocked stores. Only been to the Ice Park a couple times but it seems like a fantastic potential community area, just need to make it more accessible which would turn it more profitable.

I’ve heard constant CIP ads on WNRN, and I believe I’ve seen one on TV recently as well.
That TV ad is VERY recent. Like within the last few weeks. I was there they day they filmed it. Kind of like bailing on the Titanic, NO? As for the radio spots, are they recent as well? I occasionally listen to WNRN. Can't say I have heard one.

I do think there are things that can be done from marketing perspective to increase traffic to CIP. Can any recall ever seeing an ad in print or on TV for CIP

I've heard constant CIP ads on WNRN, and I believe I've seen one on TV recently as well.

Mr. D, as Mr. Danielson is affectionately being called, knew so well that the central VA area cant support a rink that he opened not one, but 2 rinks (the second being the Fredericksburg Ice Park)... That in itself pretty safely says he didn't know too much about it. I think we can safely stop using him as a reference. The fact of the matter is yes, with effort, the rink is viable. It is a mainstay downtown, yes the DM benefits from the rink being there, no the DM cannot handle 2 large empty shells sitting there. Coincidently, doesn't the empty Landmark Hotel belong to Mr. D? He did not know better, there are reasons the rink has not made money, look a little closer at management and you might reason enough.

Right, and what's going to happen in 2 weeks when everyone has forgotten about curling?

The city has not had any real leadership for years ... so the Norris comment isn't news. The mall itself was a failure for the first 20 years ... most ice rinks are owned by the municipalities and it takes years to build up the programs needed to sustain the income needed to pay the huge power bill. An ice rink raises the quality of life in the towns that support them. Norris might consider that before sticking his foot in his mouth.

Mr. Voisinet is correct that baseball parks and tennis courts don't make money. But most of these facilities are publicly owned (either through schools or parks) and don't require nearly as much maintenance as a skating rink.

Frankly, I'm surprised at the mayor's recalcitrance. Certainly the city has spent more than $4.1 million to maintain the vibrant downtown mall before. The ice park is 'almost one of a kind' (just like the Victory Shoe store)!

As the stated reason the city spent over $7 million dollars in public money is so women in high-heeled shoes don't get their heels caught while walking on the downtown mall then certainly $4 million dollars seems a pittance.

There are tens and tens of SUV driving hockey moms that will be slightly inconvenienced! And we can't let these private real estate developers take a loss, Mr. Mayor! And think of the blight! We can't afford to have such a large, hulking, empty structure on the DTM. I mean, once the Victory Shoe storefront is rebuilt, all those customers will have this eyesore to look at! And the tenants at the Omni, they'll see it to.

The city MUST step in.

Since nobody else has mentioned it, would it be safe to assume that I am the only one around here who feels that the availability of "PARKING" was a major factor in the death of this business?

Yeah, yeah, I know! There's a parking garage 2 blocks away. But I decided I would never use this garage when the city had to hire off duty cops as security guards.

Hundreds of kids spend countless hours there practicing hockey and figure skating...its also a great place for teens to hang on Saturday night.

If you don't appreciate the ice rink great, but take whatever YOUR interest is and imagine it closing tomorrow...be it baseball, golf course or the Paramount.

I also imagine the hundreds of vistors a day bring quite a business to the pizza and coffee shops....

I hope they can come up with a business plan to make it viable and save a nice piece of the city....

either its a civic trust that needs to be saved, or its a business that needs to make money. but not both. it clearly cant make money as a business. i dont feel bad one minute for the hockey moms or dads if this thing goes away. life's a biatch. sounds like the hockey kids were playing on subsidized ice. my kids like to skate too, but if i need to pay 3x the currents rates, they can go ride their bikes. its free.

Bob, WERE there hundreds of visitors a day, every day? that's the question. if there were, I don't think the ice park would be going under. I don't doubt that some visitors to the ice park spend money at that end of the mall too (mostly on pizza and coffee, apparently), but no one is quantifying the impact of the ice park on the entire mall. are the other businesses on the mall freaking out at the loss of the ice park?

Needz moar kerling.

I urge everyone in this forum who values the Ice Park to speak out on this issue beyond this website. The business world is filled with turnaround stories much more remarkable than this would be. The many innovative people in our community could examine this business model and then transform it into a successful venture. This is what entrepreneurial people do--they see potential where others see only obstacles. And they question assumptions, such as the one that the only way to save the rink is to attract 20,000 more public skaters each year. They also reach out to potential partners in both public and private sectors.

Crozette, man you just have an opinion on everything in Charlottesville even though you don't live there. Do you spend this much energy trying to clean Crozet up, and it's problems? Because it has them. I could slam both the city and the county on a lot of sill stuff that they do, but I start there instead of focusing on someone else's town all the time.

What have you got against the Ice park? It's not like it's costing you anything.

The city should own public recreation facilities. http://www.fcgov.com/recreation/epic.php

maybe they could get obama to pay for some solar panels that could generate elctricity to make ice and freeze a pond at Bisquit run for the skaters to use.

Better yet pound foolish, maybe they could get Dubya to teach them how to turn the Ice Park into something for Homeland Security training, then set themselves up as ' contractors' so they can bilk the taxpayer out of billions, not just the paltry million to get the purchase the rink.

That's the ' Conservative' way to do business, dontcha know?

You betcha that's how it's done and if theya re super smart they can cause a lawsuit against the city in the process, like some special 'outsider' ' Conservative' person up in Alaska did.

Yeah...we'll build a rink to nowhere on Federal Dollars...

County now owns Triangle SportsPlex.

DEC. 16--HILLSBOROUGH -- Orange County completed its $6 million acquisition of the Triangle SportsPlex Thursday.

"The SportsPlex transaction is closed. Orange County is now the owner of the SportsPlex building. At the end of the day, [Recreation Factory Partners] will take over management of the facility," Geof Gledhill, attorney for the county, said Thursday afternoon.

The county commissioners approved purchasing the SportsPlex and the surrounding property in the Meadowlands office park of U.S. 70 Business in June. Last week, the”Š

The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC) | December 16, 2005

Use the space to make a curling rink! There is so much interest after all the coverage in the Olympics, and I don't think there's one anywhere close to here. A curling rink is much more feasible to run - yearly memberships, social leagues, and rentals bring in a lot more than free-skates!

Anyone who says the rink has not drawn business downtown must not come to the rink... or eat downtown. Thousands upon thousands come skating, and then eat downtown. The rink has provided many people with entertainment, education and jobs. Running a rink is clearly not an easy thing to do, particularly here in the south. However, some of us still remember many summer nights when the rink had Country Night, or Christian Night... events that drew a large number of people in the time every rink slows down. It's been a while since I've seen that done at our rink, but maybe with new owners will come new ideas, or a return to old successful ideas. We were able to afford brick work on the mall despite great debate about it. Can we afford 2 large empty buildings on the mall??? Most business owners will tell you no, no we can't. City, County, State and individuals, for the betterment of Charlottesville and the surrounding area, we all need to see if we can help keep another business AND jobs here.

Christian night? Country night at the ice rink? No wonder the cool kids have left the mall and are trying to take over Belmont. I remember 1994 well and downtown Charlottesville was a blast before all the suburban moms and their spoiled kids took over. Anyone who doesn't know that wasn't there.

The city made an enormous planning mistake by allowing a building so wedded to a single purpose in that location. It was an obvious risk as a business and now after slowly fading for years it's finally wearing out its investors. Sadly, it is going to cost a developer a lot of money to renovate for its next life and its parking and loading access problems are going to limit what can be done there.

The rink, like the failed hotel project will likely sit for years as an empty and decaying testament to the foolishness of a series of city councilors. You get what you vote for.

Did someone forget to forward the memo to Mert that the vast majority of the Vinegar Hill buildings have been torn down and replaced by parking lots?

Seems like an expert on the subject anyhow... well, except for the obvious. She must have been blindfolded on those trips downtown?

puff, puff, puffffff, ....dude, awesome....

What would be helpful would be extended and regular free-skate hours. I've enjoyed skating at the ice park a couple of times, but the free skates are so few and far between that its hard to find a time to go.

I don't know if the people on here that are saying things like "Tear it down and turn it into a supermarket" or "How will this even affect the Hockey players or ice skaters?" fully understand the gravity of this situation. If they close the ice park, that's it. No more skating. There aren't any other ice rinks around. Nobody is going to drive for 3 hours to skate recreationally or for a hockey practice. This isn't just getting rid of a baseball field or a basketball court-it's destroying the sport in Charlottesville (and any other area near it) completely. So all of you people telling them its a good idea to tear it down, think of the people who actually used this park.