Tuesday Dec 16 2008
By: Roger Phelps, The Telegraph
Rink reaps raves, revives Folsom historic district
Reviews are pouring in and they’re all positive for Folsom’s new skating rink. In addition to getting a Christmas feel to gel in the historic district, and giving a venue for talented and competitive blade artists to skate their stuff, the rink has put the district on a destination list for travelers. One result is a lift in historic-district commerce. When one sells food, for example, there is nothing like the sight of a busload of young people from Placerville pulling up near the door, or the emergence at a nearby light-rail stop of a big gang of skaters from Rancho Cordova. “It’s brought the dead zone alive,” said Bob Relei, owner of Guido’s Deli on Sutter Street. “Since the rink, weekends are great.” Karen Holmes, proprietor of Karen’s Bakery and Café, wrote to city officials, “Let’s hear it for ice skating! We have seen them come off the light rail -- yesterday a group of 20 -- driven in from Placerville, and just neighborhood folks.” Beautiful jumps and toe loops, and spectacular pratfalls aren’t the only drama that the new rink has hosted. “My daughter, Lori, got engaged on the rink,” said M.J. Lang, proprietor of the Strands on Sutter Street hair salon, explaining that a subterfuge involving a birthday announcement cleared the rink, after which a public-address system called for “Mike and Lori” to take the ice, whereupon Mike Moore proposed marriage to Lori Sanden, who accepted. “Everybody stood up and cheered,” Lang said. The rink idea was thought up by resident Tami Richmond, Richmond said, quickly giving credit for its execution to her boss, former Folsom Mayor Bob Holderness, to Joe Gagliardi, executive director of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and to rink-maker Rob Kerth, president of Ice Unlimited, Inc. “It’s kind of a dream come true,” Richmond said. “I want the community to know how much positive feedback has come, and about merchants being able to stay afloat.” At Snook’s Candies, just yards from the rink, apprentice confectioner Eric Snook said, “I haven’t been on (the rink) -- we’ve been too busy.” Proprietor Jim Snook said rail service is bringing skaters even from Sacramento, which has a skating rink, to the Folsom facility and to his store. April Knight, co-owner of The Black Rooster Café, dreamed up a “Skate Your Way to Savings” plan for the district in which rink patrons get discounts from participating merchants. “It brings a little more customers up from the rink to ‘re-find’ us -- to see what we have that’s new,” Knight said. Initial costs of $80,000 for the skating surface were split among the chamber, the city redevelopment agency and non-profits Folsom Historic District Association and Folsom Tourism Bureau. Officially known as the Historic Sutter Street Ice Rink, the facility is just off Sutter Street near the west end, in a parking lot serving the Folsom Chamber of Commerce building. Daily open hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission charges for ages 12 and under, and 62 and older, are $5, and $8 for non-senior adults. Rental skates are available for $2. On Christmas Day, the skating rink will be open, closing at 6 p.m. The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment at folsomtelegraph.com.