"Synthetic" Ice Rink in Ocala
OCALA- Bringing an ice rink to North Central Florida sometimes has been as difficult as attempting a triple salchow, but leaders in different communities have not stopped trying.
It’s been about six years since the city of Ocala brought in a "real" ice rink. This year the city invested in something a little different. This is not your typical ice rink.
"I got all excited. I just wish I could skate," said Elizabeth Fowler.
Fowler and her granddaughter stopped by Downtown Ocala to check out this ice rink, that’s synthetic.
"It’s made up of polyurethane. It’s called a super glide and it's pieced together," said Carla Chindamo who is the Recreation Program Supervisor for Athletics and Aquatics.
This year city officials decided to purchase a "fake" ice rink because it's less expensive to maintain and lasts between five to ten years. Chindamo said getting the synthetic ice rink is an
innovative way of bringing back an ice rink to Florida. The startup cost is about $40,000, which includes the rink, a shed to store the skates and the skate sharpener.
"It comes from our Recreation and Parks budget that we have purchased for this year, but every year after this it will be included in our budget each year," said Chindamo.
"I think in Christmas time it is well worth it. It’s not much," said Rhonda Morgrige who is a resident.
But other residents believe the money could've been put to better use.
"I feel there are better activities they can use that on. An ice rink in this area I just don't think that's beneficial at this point," said Patrick Doyle.
The rink is 32 by 64 feet and is located near Citizens Circle.
"You skate on it just like you would normal ice," said Chindamo.
The synthetic ice rink holds about 40 people at one time. Residents will get to slip on skates this Saturday when the rink opens to the public.
"It’s good family time. Good clean fun and just something different to do during the holidays. We don't get snow around here so I think it's a great idea," said Donna Priest who is a resident.
It costs $5 to skate for half an hour. The rink will be open every day except Christmas until January 7th.
Monday- Friday 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
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