LETTER- 8 things: Uses for an insolvent ice rink
Thinking outside the box, in regards to the Charlottesvilleville Ice Park [February 27: "Thin ice: Citing losses, owners to close skating rink"]:
1. Put a portable floor on the rink and use as a.) conference center in league with the Omni hotel, b.) dance hall, c.) indoor farmers' market. d.) wedding chapel. e.) theater. f.) music hall. g.) church. h.) basketball court. i.) badminton court, or j.) indoor tennis court
2 Install an Olympic size swimming pool either below or above the ice rink.
3. Turn it into a multiple indoor ice park (like a water park) with ice slides like a luge or like water slides with nets at the bottom to catch people, and turn the slides into water slides during the summer that end in the swimming pool. Start at the highest point and loop the transparent tube slides around the inside perimeter of the rink walls.
4. Turn the refreshment center into a real restaurant. Or better yet, get rid of the refreshment center (as there are enough restaurants downtown) for a children's jungle gym. Have only one office for all events.
5. Build offices or apartments in the air space above the ice rink. How high does an ice rink ceiling have to be? The structure above the rink could be built as a separate structure (with glass walls) under the ceiling while leaving the space at the outside windows up to the high ceiling. See Architectural Record.
6. There are summer sports leagues, so why not winter sports leagues? Look at all the skating events in the Olympics. Get all the surrounding counties and schools involved. Curling, anyone?
7. Contact the Olympic committees to see if they would partially ($50,000/year) support the rink as a training center to encourage Olympic hopefuls from Central Virginia.
8. Contact the National Hockey League to see if they would provide $100,000/year to support the ice rink to promote hockey.
James E. Shifflett, Jr.