Outdoor ice rink coming to downtown Tucson in time for the holidays

Updated: Jul. 30, 2019 at 6:48 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Downtown Tucson just got a whole lot cooler.

A proposal to bring ice skating to Tucson during the Christmas season has been given unanimous approval by the Rio Nuevo board.

Rio Nuevo has agreed to put up the $350,000 needed to purchase a portable, 60-foot by 80-foot rink which will be used starting on Thanksgiving Day and running until New Year’s Day.

“This will be a real ice rink with real ice,” said Lane Mandle, the chief of staff for the Tucson city manager. “People will have a full ice skating experience out there.”

Other Arizona cities, like Phoenix, also have a rink for holiday ice skating located in downtown so the warm winters are not an issue.

The rink will be managed and operated by the City of Tucson in partnership with the Tucson Convention Center and the Roadrunners hockey team.

The city will pay the operating costs which it says it will recoup by charging about $10 per person to skate. Rio Nuevo believes it will recoup its costs because 15,000 to 20,000 people are estimated to come downtown to use it during the holiday season.

Rio Nuevo is funded by sales tax dollars generated within in taxing districts, which includes downtown.

“This is a great idea,” said Board Chair Fletcher McCusker. “We all loved it.”

In its initial year, the rink will be located at 5th and Toole, next door to the MLK Apartments, across the street from Hotel Congress.

Because it’s a portable rink, it can be moved if needed to another location as downtown redevelops.

“We hope to bring it back every year,” Mandle said. “So we can have a great holiday tradition.”

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