Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Friday, September 29, 2023

Anyone looking to go ice skating in Gainesville this winter will have to hope Lake Alice freezes over.

The annual Plaza Ice Palace, a downtown temporary skating rink, will not be set up this year for the first time since it started five years ago.

Steve Phillips, director of the City of Gainesville Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, said city budget cuts made the rink unaffordable.

Budgets around the state were slashed as a result of a proposed reform in property taxes.

"It was decided that it's a luxury," Phillips said. "We need to stick to basics."

The city took bids for the rink last June, though even then it seemed unlikely, Phillips said.

"We realized it was going to cost us lots and lots of money," he said.

Coni Gesualdi, cultural affairs manager, said two companies put in bids close to ,200,000.

The bids were more than ,50,000 over last year's. To break even, the city would have had to charge ,25 admission, rather than last year's ,8 admission and ,2 skate rental.

The rink has always been a heavy cost to the city, Gesualdi said, especially last year, when it lost ,40,000 that had to be subsidized.

The rink had almost been cut last year, but city officials decided to keep it at the last minute, meaning it could not stay open during its usual nine weeks to help pay for itself, she said.

Paula Hogrefe, a UF math junior, said she has gone to the rink every year she has been at UF.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

She said she went skating as a break from studying for finals.

Phillips said this year, the city realized ahead of time it would not be able to subsidize the rink.

Both Phillips and Gesualdi said the rink could return next winter.

"We always hope," Gesualdi said.

Meanwhile, she said, the city is calling attention to other Christmas activities, also organized by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.

A Christmas tree lighting at the Thomas Center, including music and refreshments, drew crowds Saturday night. The department is also responsible for holiday decorations around City Hall.

Alligator Staff Writer Andrew Tan contributed to this report.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.