A new synthetic ice rink in Ocala will provide a new holiday experience for residents and visitors.
The rink, mostly made of black polymer, is 32 feet by 64 feet, allowing for 40 skaters at a time.
The rink is set to be unveiled this Saturday afternoon at the Light Up Ocala event. Once unveiled, the rink will be open seven days a week until Jan. 5.
Similar rinks have been used in Florida before with great success, which is why the Ocala City Council approved this project last summer.
The project is expensive, but the rink will bring a great sense of holiday spirit to the Ocala area, Pamela Calero, public communication coordinator for Ocala, said.
“Startup costs for the rink are $38,000, and that combated a special taxing district budget from downtown,” said Calero.
“We expect to repay that over the next three years from rink proceeds, and operating costs for the rink run about $69,000. And we expect to be repaid by skate fees, private rentals and sponsorships, which the city expects to be around $82,000,” she said.
While a lot of money around this time of year goes toward buying gifts for family and friends, the rink not only provides a great holiday experience, but it also has a very low admission fee, which makes it easy for all visitors to participate.
“Five dollars is the admission price which will get you 30 minutes on the ice as well as rental skates,” Calero said. “It’s really great because a lot of people in Ocala have never skated before so this makes for a great way to experience something that a lot of people have as a holiday tradition.”
Not only is the city excited to unveil the rink, but Ocala residents are also excited to experience ice skating. Samantha Kent, an Ocala resident, said she is looking forward to the opportunity to ice skate during the holidays.
“Right around Christmas time in Florida it doesn’t snow here or get very cold, so I think because we don’t have a ‘White Christmas,’ an ice rink will definitely enhance the holiday experience for families and friends all over the area,” Kent said.