Beaufort News

Keep sweating, Beaufort, but dream of holiday ice skating

An ice skating rink in Beaufort?

An ice skating rink could be coming to Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort this winter season. Jimmy Durham, owner of the company that may install the rink, talks about why this would be a good for the community in Beaufort.
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An ice skating rink could be coming to Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort this winter season. Jimmy Durham, owner of the company that may install the rink, talks about why this would be a good for the community in Beaufort.

Ice skating in Beaufort?

It’s too early to tell whether the idea is a mirage. But as a summer of record heat drags on, the proposal provides intrigue for cooler days.

Main Street Beaufort, working with Amazing Event Rentals, wants to put an ice-skating rink in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park during the holidays. The rink would be built in the park’s pavilion and would be open from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

“The point would be the attraction,” said Jason Ruhf, business development manager for Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. “...Helping to bring shoppers and such to downtown Beaufort and create a holiday attraction.”

Ruhf has worked on the proposal for Main Street Beaufort, which recently came under the umbrella of the Beaufort Regional Chamber. He said ice rinks have been used for similar purposes in Charleston, Savannah and Rock Hill.

He laid out a plan for city officials to consider during a City Council workshop on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

The initial proposed hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. The 1,100 square-foot rink of synthetic ice could accommodate up to 40 people at a time, according to the Main Street memo Ruhf crafted.

The structure is professional grade and similar to what is used in Disney on Ice and other traveling shows, Main Street said in its pitch. The synthetic ice wouldn’t require electricity to keep it cool.

The project would be a partnership between Main Street and Amazing Event Rentals, with the city of Beaufort as a co-sponsor.

Amazing Event Rentals owner Tony Burris is on vacation and was unavailable for comment Monday.

In its pitch, Main Street Beaufort said the rink would drive more holiday shoppers downtown and increase the area’s festive feel during the holidays. Ruhf expects the rink to be popular among military families.

Amazing Event Rentals would manage the rink. Ice skate rentals are expected to be $10 per 90-minute period.

Other ideas for the rink are that it be rented out for group events and that time blocks be donated for use of local nonprofit organizations. Holiday giveaways and photo opportunities with Santa are also possibilities.

Because of the high cost of the initial investment, Amazing Event Rentals could want assurance the rink will become an annual holiday tradition. The lifespan of the rink is 15 years.

Sponsors could be sought to advertise on the rink panels and help cover the cost, Ruhf included in his memo.

Stephen Fastenau: 843-706-8182, @IPBG_Stephen

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