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Folsom ice rink gets warm reception

By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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After a one-year hiatus, the Folsom outdoor ice rink is back in business. “The challenge of the ice rink is they are expensive to run,” said Jerry Bernau, of Bernau Development Corporation. He said this year the Folsom Historic District Association, the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and Ice Unlimited worked together to have the rink return. The rink is scheduled to open in mid November near Veteran’s Day and run through January. A soft opening is scheduled to start around Nov. 5. “The problem of the first year was we had challenges and it didn’t meet revenue projection,” Bernau said. “The challenge for 2009 was the rink went to midtown (Sacramento) and we couldn’t financially keep it.” “This year we approached Ice Unlimited to have the ice rink back in Folsom,” he said. “The Folsom Historic District Association realized the importance and wants to bring the ice rink back here.” Bernau said there is no cost to the city of Folsom. “We (the association) put a lot of the upfront cost up, but we know that it’s worth it,” he said. The Business Improvement District, which started in 2008, helped with marketing and revenue, he said. Through this organization, property owners gave capital to put on the event. “The Folsom Historic District Association really wants to make this work financially to allow us to do this annually in the center of the plaza in the future,” Bernau said. “The view was for us to try this out before the (permanent ice rink at the turntable is put in).” Bernau said that while this is not a major money-generating event, the long-term goals make it worth it. “This is not a money-making venture. We don’t plan to make a lot of money,” he said. “We hope to get people back to the district to help merchants with the setbacks businesses suffered after construction from the revitalization project.” Many Folsom Historic District merchants are coming together to promote the rink. The Black Rooster, Inc., owners April Knight and Pia Knight plan to bring back the concession stand near the ice rink. “We did this the first year and it was extremely successful for us,” Pia said. “It fills a need for the participants to have those treats.” The “Little Rooster” concession stand will offer hot coffee, hot tea, hot cider and hot chocolate, cookies, rice crispy treats, muffins, scones and potato chips. Pia said can soda and bottle water will also be available. “I think the timing is just right to invite people back into the district after our revitalization project to show off the district,” Pia said. Jim Snook, owner of Snook’s Candies will also participate in the ice rink festivities. “We may have something like caramel apples in a sharing concession stand with the Black Rooster,” Snook said. Snook said the ultimate goal for the ice rink is to bring people back into the district. “The benefit (to bringing the rink back to Folsom) is it provides for your senses,” Snook said. “It’s a sensory event and it gives you a good feeling when you are here and when you leave. Ice staking gives you a special feeling.” He said one goal is to have families visit the rink and while older kids are skating with friends, parents can walk up the street and shop in the district. “Over 20,000 people came the first year and our goal this year is about 25,000 people,” Snook said. “While people are here they need to make sure to visit the district because we have a lot of neat shops including new shops.” For more information on the ice, rink visit historicfolsom.org.