If you haven't visited the downtown ice skating rink on Main Street, you're in luck. Columbia City Council just approved keeping the rink open for another 2 weeks. Since opening on Thanksgiving, the rink has been filled with slipping, sliding, skating kids and adults enjoying a rare treat in Columbia.
The city has spent about 190 thousand dollars operating the rink so far, and says that although ticket sales have covered some of that expense, the project is still about $70,000 in the red. The Columbia Convention and Visitors Board estimates that the economic impact of the rink may be over $300,000 including money spent on food, beverage and other items from businesses near the rink, but that doesn't erase the red ink on the City's books.
In my opinion, this ice skating rink was a capital idea, creating a unique destination on Main Street and capturing the imagination of more than 13,000 visitors according to city leaders. They say, "if you build it they will come," but the city must be fiscally responsible when undertaking these enterprises .