COLUMBIA, S.C. WELCOMES GOVERNMENT-RUN RINK TO STRUGGLING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
The City of Columbia, S.C. is shelling out $158,000 in public funds for a seasonal ice skating rink in the heart of its struggling downtown business district … and that figure may not include the maintenance of the facility over the coming two-and-a-half months.
The rink – located at Boyd Plaza in front of the city’s art museum – was approved earlier this month by mayor Steve Benjamin and city council members. In fact Benjamin touted the opening of the rink in a “Happy Thanksgiving” email from the city.
“I am proud to announce that this Thanksgiving Thursday we’ll have another way to celebrate this wonderful season right here at Boyd Plaza on Main Street at Hampton with the Grand Opening of our brand new ice skating rink ‘Main Street Ice,’” Benjamin boasted.
And while residents can skate at the rink free of charge from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day – they’ll have to shell out $10.00 per adult (and $6.00 per child) any other time they visit.
Look … we hate to scrooge on anybody’s holiday plans, but there is absolutely no universe in which a friggin’ ice skating rink is a core function of government. Particularly not one situated in front of a government-funded museum.
Whether this rink makes money or not, the private sector is the loser here …
We’re all for the idyllic holiday vision of families ice skating in front of a Macy’s store (ironically, the property on which this government museum sits used to be home to a Macy’s store) but that vision that ought to be provided by the private sector – not government.