The Cal Anderson “ice” skating rink backed by Capitol Hill real estate and development firm Hunters Capital and Sound Transit that took heat in 2011 for being glycol covered polymer — not true blue skating ice — won’t be back in 2012.
Organizers tell CHS that the focus is, instead, on trying to pull off a more ambitious true-ice effort for the 2013 holiday season.
Last year, the rink plan was developed as a way to draw families — and, with hope, shoppers — to Cal Anderson during the holiday season.
Sound Transit earmarked some
$2.6 million in business $1.2 million mitigation money to support the Capitol Hill business community through the duration of the U-Link light rail construction. We documented some of the ways that money has been deployed over the years here. Slog put the price tag for the 2011 polymer rink at $100,000. UPDATE: Sound Transit asked us to clarify the amount spent on business mitigation and we’ve researched the number to update the documentation. The Chamber of Commerce clarified that the $2.6 million value originally reported by CHS in the past actually represented the Chamber’s initial ask. Sound Transit says the total budget — including construction work done at the site to mitigate impact — is closer to $1.2 million. Of that, only about $600,000 is being spent on direct business mitigation activities involving marketing and events.
Difficult to skate and a sometimes sticky experience thanks to the glycol used to slick up the vinyl, the rink struggled to catch on in 2011 despite backing from several merchants in the area, community promotions and sponsors including CHS. In a sign of things to come, Mayor Mike McGinn struggled to complete a circuit of the rink in its December debut.
We don’t yet have details on what the plans are for 2013. Around Pike/Pine, a check with a few neighborhood business owners and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce revealed no plans for any other holiday features for 2012. Along Broadway, the Broadway Improvement Area’s snowflakes went up over the weekend.
Smaller, grassroots efforts will also be, as usual, part of the effort to attract commerce to the Hill during the Holidays. CHS is again partnering with Babeland and the Chamber on the Shop the Hill effort. Open to any business around the Hill, it’s another way to spread the word about good, local ideas for gifts, etc. Best of all, it has a total budget of a few hundred dollars.