Downtown Raleigh outdoor skating rink closed for the season due to construction

Rebecca Johnson, News Assistant Editor

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Every winter season since 2009, families and friends have enjoyed their cool days with a public outdoor skating rink in Downtown Raleigh as a part of their winterfest celebration. However, this year the outdoor rink will not be opening due to the construction of Fayetteville street.

The outdoor skating rink has been a winter staple for residents since it opened. It was the only natural outdoor skating rink in the area, and was located in City Plaza on Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh. In previous years the rink has been open from early November to late January.

“I used to go with my family every winter, and it’s such a fun place to go hang out with friends in Raleigh. I actually made plans with my friends to go this year, but then we realized it wasn’t happening. Now we have to go all the way to North Hills to go outdoor skating,” said Harrison Rose, senior.

The construction will include a 22 story First National Bank Tower and is scheduled to begin in 2018. Raleigh Mayor, Nancy McFarlane, hopes the construction will bring space and jobs to the fast growing city. Along with an office, the building will include 240 residential apartment units.

Even though the construction will begin after Winterfest would have ended, too much time had passed for the Raleigh Alliance to secure the location and install the ice rink.

“I went last year and was really looking forward to going back this year. It sucks that it’s not happening since it’s the only one near where I live,” said Eric Wagner, senior.

Due to budget constraints, the company was unable to relocate the rink. The ice skating rink was not the only thing downsized from the celebration, the entire winterfest faced downsizing as well. The winterfest centers around the Downtown Raleigh tree lighting ceremony that took place on December 2.

Even though the budget for the event was lowered, it still included live music, festive contests, a giant Snowzilla super slide, inflatable obstacle courses, face painting and an opportunity to take a picture with Santa Claus.

“The Christmas tree lighting festival was awesome. It was nice to see everyone getting together downtown to celebrate. My favorite part was getting a group picture with Santa,” said Karlyn Voltz, senior.


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