For the second year in a row, Santa Monica’s seasonal ice rink on Fifth Street south of Arizona Avenue will be back — and it will be larger and open longer than last year, starting in early November and continuing into January.
“We’re delighted that it’s coming back because the ice rink was a hugely popular community meeting place,” said Kathleen Rawson, executive director of the nonprofit Bayside District, which manages the rink. “It is a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together, it’s great exercise and it turned out to be a really wonderful community event.
“It was hugely popular and we look forward to having it again this year.”
Last year, the Santa Monica City Council authorized the use of the city-owned property on Fifth Street south of Arizona Avenue for the seasonal ice skating rink.
On Tuesday, September 16th, the council authorized city manager Lamont Ewell to begin negotiations for a license agreement with the Bayside District, which is requesting permission to use the property at 1324 and 1326 Fifth St. as an ice skating rink from Wednesday, October 1st through Monday, January 19th.
The rink is scheduled to be open to the public beginning Friday, November 7th, operating from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for ten weeks.
Also, the rink will be significantly larger this year.
Last year, the rink was just under 6,000 square feet, but this year it will be just over 7,500 square feet, Rawson said, noting that, while the rink got almost no complaints last year, people did ask, “Can’t you make it a little bigger?”
“They wanted bigger and they wanted [it open] longer and we’ve done our best to accommodate those two things,” Rawson said.
Currently, the property to be used for the ice rink is used for surface parking, which Parking Valet Services manages under a license agreement with the city.
Parking Valet Services will be given 30 days notice to temporarily vacate the lot “so it can make other arrangements with those who park on the lot,” said Andy Angle, director of housing and economic development for the city.
While the lot is not in operation, the city will forego approximately $21,000 in parking revenue, Angle said.
On September 16th, the city also contributed $25,000 to assist with the cost of providing electrical services to the skating site.
Last year, a generator provided electricity to the chiller. But over the past few months, the city and Bayside District have explored alternate and “greener” ways to provide electrical services to the site.
“We’ll be purchasing green power,” Rawson said.
Last year, the rink attracted approximately 30,000 skaters over 47 days — and double or triple that amount of people watching, Rawson said.
Bayside expects to serve over 40,000 skaters this year because the rink will be larger and open several weeks longer than last year.
Admission to skate will be the same as last winter — $10.
“We wanted it to be affordable for a family,” said Rawson. “That’s why the price of admission is $10. I was really happy we were able to maintain that cost again this year.”
Bayside will also work with the Boys & Girls Club, the Police Athletic League (PAL) and other local community groups “to make sure that kids who might not otherwise have a chance to ice skate will have a chance at our rink,” Rawson said.