Back in January, GM published an entry in his occasional ”Why Not” series. This time he asked: Why not build a waterfront ice rink? In all honesty, GM thought it was a huge pipe dream and had no chance of actually coming to pass. But shortly after publishing it, GM was approached by Sue Hamilton of the Georgetown Business Association to let him know it’s not such a pipe dream after all.
Turns out that back in the 90s, there was an ice rink on the waterfront. At the time, the park was rented from the feds by the city, so NPS’s policy against “active parks” was not a problem. The ice rink itself was a portable unit and it came from the recently defunct Ice Capades. The rink was up for several years before the city turned the park back over to NPS and the rink was kicked out. Since then, however, it has remained in storage. Sue told GM, though, about the nascent plans and that a return of the rink was a real possibility.
While GM was thinking more about a rink in the waterfront park, the plans, as reported by the Post, call for the Washington Harbour fountain to be converted to a rink, and that’s probably a better idea. The restaurants can cater to the crowds with hot chocolate and the like.
Whether the old Ice Capades equipment will be used is unclear at this point. The new owners of the complex, MRP Realty, have committed $30 million to renovate the plaza, so perhaps they’ll just buy a new system.
From the drawing above, it appears they plan on keeping Arthur Cotton Moore’s tacky tower, which will get in the way of the skaters. But MRP is promising the largest outdoor rink in the District. While that’s not saying that much (the National Gallery rink is a postage stamp) it does give GM hope that the rink will be large enough that the tower won’t be an issue.
There’s a lot that needs to be done to spruce up Washington Harbour and overcome Arthur Cotton Moore’s dated architecture. But this has the potential to be an absolutely huge new asset to the neighborhood and the city. And if it works, maybe they should take a cue from Bryant Park and add a holiday market to the ice rink?
And now that GM is aware of the power of his “Why Not” posts to make pipe dreams come true, look forward to future entries like “Why Not Have a Georgetown Metro Station by 2013?” or “Why Not Have the Average Summer Temperature of DC be About 15 Degrees Cooler?”