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Residents will have a chance to voice their opinions this week on a proposed ice skating rink for Duke of Gloucester Street.
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has submitted an application to the City of Williamsburg for a long-term special event license that would allow an ice skating rink on the public street for about three months.
City Council is hosting a public hearing on the application Thursday. City staff has recommended approval.
“Our goal is to offer a very special and new activity around the Merchants Square shops and restaurants during January and February,” CWF Vice President of Operations Robert Underwood wrote in the request for an event license.
If the license is approved, the rink would shut down a portion of Duke of Gloucester Street between North Henry and Nassau streets from Nov. 9 through Feb. 19, which includes the timeline for installation. The 70’-by-50’ ice rink, built and maintained by Florida-based Magic Inc. USA, would cover most of the roadway, leaving the sidewalks for pedestrians to pass through.
The rink would open to the public Nov. 15. Operating hours would be 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.
Colonial Williamsburg aims to draw locals and tourists to Merchants Square to “skate, dine and shop” during the slower season for both the living history museum and the shops, the memo states.
In a presentation posted to City Council’s agenda for the upcoming meeting, Colonial Williamsburg estimates the rink would draw about 25,000 visitors and have a $900,000 financial impact, with $250,000 coming from direct spending at the rink and about $40,000 from sales taxes.
In addition to tickets and skate rentals, the rink would sell refreshments.
The rink would obstruct vehicle traffic, currently allowed on a limited basis for Bruton Parish Church purposes, on that section of Duke of Gloucester Street. Colonial Williamsburg said the church has been notified and “has graciously accepted any parking inconvenience.”