Holiday season outdoor skating rink offered for downtown Jax riverside
An outdoor skating rink could happen to downtown Jacksonville’s riverside this holiday season, if a downtown nonprofit can make it work.
There are still a lot of logistical details to figure out, but Downtown Vision CEO Jake Gordon is working with the Downtown Investment Authority and city officials to try and set everything up for outdoor skating on the lawn that replaced the Jacksonville Landing.
The site, now called Riverfront Plaza, would feature a temporary 40-by-100-foot outdoor ice rink that would be open to the public from November 27 to January 8. The square would also be decorated with a winter decor.
Gordon told WJCT News Thursday that he is asking the Downtown Investment Authority to contribute $ 100,000 for the project. The DIA board is expected to approve this funding.
Other costs should be covered by sponsorships and admission fees.
âWe think it’s probably a $ 750,000 to $ 800,000 project. But it makes money because you sell him tickets. So it’s probably about $ 300,000. And so you end up with around $ 350,000. So you end up with a $ 400,000 gap that I have to fill with philanthropic means or support from the city, âGordon said.
A preliminary cost estimate for skaters would be $ 18 for 90 minutes of time. An on-site skate rental station would also be available for those who do not have their own ice skates.
Downtown Vision is considering Ice Rinks Events as a potential supplier. The company, which advertises itself as “the king of frozen water”, has built similar temporary ice rinks in cities around the world.
But it’s too early to say if the Ice Rinks Events can fit Jacksonville into their 2021 schedule, Gordon said.
If the rink doesn’t take place in 2021, he’s determined to bring it to Jacksonville in 2022, but not necessarily to Riverfront Plaza.
The future of the place is on hold as the Downtown Investment Authority and the city reflect on how it will be redeveloped.
Later this month, the DIA is expected to unveil the results of a park design competition for space, and SouthEast Development Group has launched a $ 1.1 billion downtown master plan idea that would include a mix of public green space, office space and condominium towers at Place by the river.
If Riverfront Plaza is not available due to landscaping or construction activities next year, Downtown Vision will consider other waterfront locations.
âI think it’s a fantastic idea for Jacksonville,â Gordon said.
Gordon, who has children of his own, said, âWe all want to go see real ice cream. These kids barely saw him, who grew up in Florida. All of these other towns across the country have ice rinks like this, much like an outdoor concert series. It’s not really a new and innovative idea, it’s actually an idea that a lot of other cities have adopted. And so we’re trying to do it, from a Downtown Vision perspective. “
Downtown Vision is a non-profit organization created by the owners of Downtown commercial buildings to revitalize a 90-block section of the urban core over a half-square-mile area. Right now, the agency is in the process of expanding its limits to 1.3 square miles, according to Katherine Hardwick, vice president of marketing for Downtown Vision.