Taxpayer-Funded Ice Skating?

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…


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.


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tired and retired November 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Chill out Fits! Sounds like a cool idea. Should go smoothly. Nothing says “Famously Hot” like an ice skating rink! Oh, did the City purchase extra slip and fall coverage?

? November 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I’m pretty sure Plex Indoor sports is really excited to soon be competing with Columbia, who has no desire let alone need for profit motive.

I can think of a press release for Benjamin though:

“Because we can no longer attract new private business, let alone hold on to our existing private business base we’ve decided to tax you more so you can at least ice skate while unemployed. Merry Xmas!”

Shoeless joe November 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Greenville has that “wanna be like New York” thing going to.
Hey, elected dumbfucks – there is a reason you don’t walk across the frozen pond in these parts.

Nölff November 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

That rink is too crowded and too small.

vicupstate November 20, 2012 at 8:22 am

Recreation is NOT a core function of government and all parks, basketball courts, etc. should be closed.

Greenville County owns a public indoor rink as well. I guess that is not a core function of government either.

The rink in Greenville has a sponsor, but I don’t know if it pays the full cost, beyond the revenues from the $10 fee to skate. But at a minimum, a substantial portion is not taxpayer funded.

Upstater November 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Greenville has had a downtown ice rink for quite some time. Spartanburg – in a constant effort to compete among larger, more metropolitan cities – has a rink downtown this year as well. I don’t know the financial terms of those examples, but I know the Spartanburg location is on city-owned land.

Most Spartanburg residents like to think of Spartanburg as a small Greenville, but in truth Spartaburg is no more than a slightly larger Gaffney.

? November 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

At least Gaffney has a water tower that resembles a big round ass.

+1 for Gaffney


Nölff November 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Not to mention all the fireworks and peaches.

SparkleCity November 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm

No we don’t.

But Spartanburg is the hometown of The Marshall Tucker Band, Marshall Chapman, “Pink” Anderson, Buck Trent and a virtual plethoria of musical talents too numerous to mention here.

As I posted below, both towns have their charms and complement each other nicely.

There is a reason the region is known as GSP.

Again,any “city” in South Carolina ain’t Charlotte,Atlanta or San Francisco(not even the vaulted Charleston – Hell, I’ll take Wilmington over Charleston any day….)

But neither are they Fayetteville… I’ll give them that.

And Columbia does have a nice zoo but that’s about all….

marty November 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Don’t forget to mention Milliken hailing from Spartanburg.

vicupstate November 20, 2012 at 8:13 am

Wilmington is pleasant enough, but it pales in comparison to Charleston, as do most cities.

Carpe Jugulum November 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Until you have skated with the Oliver Gospel Mission crowd, you haven’t skated. It’s where the elite are going to meet……

Lance Riprock November 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Gov Haley has recommended Tonya Harding for Executive Director of the rink. She said interviewing Ms. Harding was like interviewing herself. Take that, Nancy Kerrigan, you high-falootin’ bitch.

EJB November 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Boondoggles like this and all the different festivals and music shows are always financial losers. Easy way to tell? NO PRIVATE enterprise will touch it with a ten foot pole. If there was a way to make a dollar there would be people lined up to try. Look at all the little roadside car sale companies, a month after one goes belly up another one opens on the same site and goes belly up six months later then another guy tries. If there was money to be made doing these things the Chamber of Commerce in the respective areas would fund them, pocket the profits and thumb their noses at the municipalities, that doesn’t happen. Why? No money. Oh, the Chamber will talk about the economic impact and trot out a BS report from some hired gun but, there…is…NO…money. It is just another example of PT Barnum come to life (“there’s a sucker born very minute”).

Andrew November 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I wish we would cancel high school & college sports.

Government has no business in providing that kind of entertainment, even providing the infrastructure for it.


Waterboy November 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

didn’t make the team did ya?

EJB November 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm

We sure don’t need some of the stadiums that some of the high schools are getting, there are college teams that would like to have some of our high school stadiums, and YES that is a waste of money. Give them a field to play on and some simple bleachers but they don’t have to be as extravagant as some I have seen.

? November 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm

“I wish we would cancel high school & college sports.”

1st, many larger university sport programs are money makers, not losers.

2nd, who says that model can’t be applied to high schools?

3rd, Pop Warner, Little League, CYSA/SOAR/SCUFC, etc. et al
What do they all have in common? Yeah… I thought so.

Andrew November 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Just poking fun at Folk’s faux libertarianism.

vicupstate November 20, 2012 at 8:16 am

Andrew and EJB both make very valid points. If college sports are making a profit ( and don’t forget that STATE funds pay the BASE salary of the coaches, and for the facilities many times), then they should foot for the bill for the feeder high school programs. At least if you use FITS logic.

hawk November 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Spartanburg recently did the same thing.

SparkleCity November 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm


A couple of y’all beat me to it.

Spartanburg has set up a temporary one too. I haven’t seen it yet and I haven’t been to the one in Greenville either. Last ice rink I as in in the Carolinas was the one that used to be in a mall in Charlotte (Eastland mall as I recall & now defunct I think..) and it was pretty big. It was fun for a date but that was back in 1980……….

Easy on Spartanburg you elitist snobs.

Just because Spartanburg dosen’t have a fecal coliform ridden river running through downtown dosen’t mean everyone should have one….

I’ve lived in both towns BTW and each has its own charms…….

Plus, there’s not a “city” (such that they are) in South Carolina that can compare with Charlotte,Atlanta or San Francisco.

So there………..

hecklenjeckle November 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Lets see. An ice rink to go with the flea market the fake pig farmer sets up on main street.

Emile DeFelice November 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Hi friend! If you are willing to put your name on this, let me treat you to some fake meat, maybe you can even pay the fake feed bill! Seriously, $50 of the best pork you’ll never have to buy. You’ll have to come down and endure a tour of the flea market, guided by the jerk who is funding 100% of it, and a quick jaunt down Main St to show you all the new private investments being made because Columbia is learning how to market itself. You are welcome to share your contributions to life on Main St. with me here or in person. Hope to meet you soon, and have a Happy Thanksgiving! Emile

Apollo Oh No! November 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Anyone got some spare change for a bus ride?

Ben Stevenson November 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Black folks don’t skate.

scsince60 November 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Once in a while one will “eskate” from the back seat of a police car. Does that count?

LOLwellsaid November 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Exactly. Just another place for bums to cuss you out and another place to get shot. An ice rink wont make up for the wig and pawn shops. Downtown columbia is trash. As soon as something goes up that is nice like the vista, it gets run down by…well you know. I would agree columbia isnt like atlanta but take a blindfold off of a stranger in the middle of each city and they would never know the difference, especially at night when all the “roaches” come out.

Jesse's Pontiac Ventura November 20, 2012 at 3:22 am

Evidently you have a problem with roaches and wig and pawn shops. What’s up with that? That’s the high life, dog.

SparkleCity November 20, 2012 at 7:24 am


Back in the day we saved ’em!!! And it was the high life fer sure

But it was the 70’s……………

bud November 20, 2012 at 7:48 am

Who pays for the inevitable injuries? This isn’t exactly an ice skating mecca.

norman November 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

Just when you thought the Mayor Bob dumb ass outdoor events were over a Black guy gets elected and goes for winter recreation. Ice skating and outdoor New Years Eve, famously HOT my ass.

? November 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

He’s making a good case for the new city slogan being “Famously Stupid”

VoiceofReason November 23, 2012 at 9:00 am

Give it up Columbia. You are such a Greenville wannabe. Maybe you can partner with SC and show others how to throw a party. How many credit hours does SC give for Advanced 5 Points?


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