Make your figure skating dreams come true this holiday season.
Downtown Tucson is (finally!) getting its own ice skating rink. It's time to lace up those skates.
Earlier this week, the Rio Nuevo district's board approved a proposal to bring a real, outdoor ice rink to downtown for the holiday season.
"A lot of other cities do this," says Lane Mandle, the chief of staff for Tucson's city manager. "It's not unrealistic to have ice outside in a desert winter. ... We'll still be able to operate even if it's a warm December."
The city and Rio Nuevo plan to set up the portable, 60-foot by 80-foot ice rink next to MLK Apartments on Fifth Avenue, near Hotel Congress. Apparently this is the place that holds our dreams for cooler climates — a few years ago the Downtown Tucson Partnership transformed the area into a beach, complete with beach umbrellas.
The Tucson Convention Center will operate the rink. The price to skate could be around $10 a session, including skate rentals, but that — and open skate hours — hasn't been finalized yet, Mandle says. The rink is portable, so it can move within the Rio Nuevo district to accommodate future downtown development.
The rink equipment is costing Rio Nuevo $350,000, and Mandle says the city should get many years out of it. Ideally, the rink would be open Thanksgiving weekend through New Year's, but because it's coming to Tucson from the Netherlands, it could get here a bit late.
"This would be a fun experience for Tucsonans because we don't have a public sheet of ice; we don't have any place to skate," Mandle says. "This is a lovely way to make a nice holiday tradition."