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ONCE AGAIN, THE PRIVATE SECTOR KNOWS BEST

Last month this website was rebuked by one of our fairest readers for criticizing a government-funded ice skating rink in downtown Columbia, S.C.  In fact we may have even been accused of attempting to steal some holiday joy.

The rink – dubbed “Main Street Ice” by city mayor Steve Benjamin – is located on the plaza in front of the taxpayer-funded Columbia Museum of Art.  It opened this Thanksgiving and will remain open through the first week of 2013 – with city taxpayers shelling out at least $158,000 to subsidize the project.

Of course taxpayers aren’t just paying for the rink to be there – they also have to pay to skate on it.  In fact it’s actually costlier to skate on this small. bumpy government rink than it is to skate at “The Plex” – a larger, privately owned rink just a few miles away in Irmo, S.C.

So … is “Main Street Ice” worth its $10 price of admission?

Not even a little bit …

In fact our fair critic – who also happens to be a regular “Ice Princess” – texted us this week to offer her assessment on the rink.

“I’m sure you NEVER hear this but … ‘you were right,'” she wrote.  “Ice rink on Main Street = bad idea.”

So … what was wrong with the government rink?

“It just sucked,” she told us.  “Small, no music, ice was horribly bumpy.  No concessions.  For $2.00 less you can go to The Plex – which is much nicer.”

Should we heed her assessment?  You tell us …

Mmmmmmm …

“I told myself I needed to stay at least an hour but after forty-five minutes I figured it wasn’t worth ruining my blade edges for,” she told us.

Our princess didn’t wade into the debate over where government ice skating rinks rank on the list of core government functions, saying only that the presence of the rink was a mixed bag for the nearby private sector rink.

“Hopefully the Main Street rink will create interest in ice skating and ultimately benefit The Plex, but right now I’m sure this has taken business away from them,” she said.  However she added, “I highly doubt Main Street will have many repeat visitors.”

Once again, government in South Carolina is doing something it has no business doing .. and doing it poorly.  Unlike our ice princess, who in the words of LL Cool J is “doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well.”

Anyway, if you want to support the private sector (and spend a few bucks less on a better skating experience) check out The Plex by clicking on the link below.

THE PLEX

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