Kyle and Samantha Gandee expected to have friends join them for a night of ice skating Jan. 7 at the temporary outdoor ice rink at Riverside Crossing Park in Dublin, but instead the couple from Columbus' Olde Towne East enjoyed an impromptu date night.
“Our friends were supposed to be with us,” Kyle Gandee said, but they were among the escalating number of people who contracted COVID-19 as the latest variant of the virus has caused another spike in the number of cases.
It was the first visit to the ice rink in Dublin for Kyle, 31, and Samantha, 30, who said she learned about it from her coworker, who lives in Dublin.
It also was the first time the couple had been on ice skates in three years, said Samantha Gandee, who learned how to skate on a pond at her parent’s house in Mount Gilead.
“This is fun; we will be back,” she said.
Matt Rush, 36, of Dublin, was at the rink Jan. 7 with his wife, Wendy, and their children, Jackson, 9 and Lyla, 6.
“I grew up skating (at an ice rink in Cleveland Heights) with my grandfather, who took me along to go skating with his friends,” Rush said.
While his son, Jackson, moved deftly on the ice, utilizing the skill developed while playing ice hockey at the Chiller indoor rink in Dublin, Lyla was using the opportunity to develop her balance on skates.
“She’s finally getting the hang of it,” Rush said.
Another first-time visitor drove from Westerville to try out a new pair of ice skates.
“I Googled ‘outdoor skating rinks in Columbus’ and came up with this,” said Katie Vance, 27.
Vance said she liked being outdoors because “it feels more like winter.”
Skaters on Jan. 7 had ample room to move on the ice but that isn’t always the case.
There are times, including the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, when all rentable skates are in use and none remain available, said Taylor Sara, district manager for Out of the Box Enterprises LLC, owner of the temporary rink.
The rink opened Dec. 17 at the park, 6635 Riverside Drive, and is situated in the lower plaza on the east side of the Dublin Link pedestrian bridge.
The normal operating hours of the 3,200-square-foot rink are 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.
Updates on hours will be provided on the city's website, dublinohiousa.gov.
The concept of an ice rink was considered early on in the design process for Riverside Crossing Park, said Matt Earman, director of Dublin Parks & Recreation.
Out of the Box Enterprises responded to a request for proposals and demonstrated its experience owning, operating and maintaining similar facilities in other cities, which led to the recent installation of the rink, Earman said.
Out of the Box Enterprises also operates ice rinks in Cleveland, Sara said.
"The rink was delivered disassembled and was assembled on site over a five-day period," Earman said.
The ice rink will operate until mid-March, said Shirley Blaine, a public-information officer for Dublin.
Admission is $10 per person and includes skate rental.
Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates but still must pay admission, Blaine said.
The ice-skating rink is outfitted with cooling equipment that allow for its operation at temperatures of up to 60 degrees, she said.
Crews resurface the ice daily using a Zamboni, Blaine said.
The rink will be closed if skating conditions are unsafe.
Those conditions include excessive rain, extremely warm temperatures or poor driving conditions, Blaine said.
Visitors can view in real-time if the ice skating rink is open by visiting dublinohiousa.gov.
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Ice-cold weather adds to allure of temporary outdoor skating rink in Dublin's Riverside Crossing Park