City outdoor ice rink could open for summer

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It may be small, but the pint-sized ice rink in Civic Plaza could soon get a big makeover.

“The mayor’s direction was let’s see if we can match Rockefeller Center, so that’s our goal, that’s what we’re aiming for,” said Mayor R.J. Berry’s Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano.

The city says it wants to transform Albuquerque’s tiny outdoor skating rink into the size of New York City’s most famous one, but with fake ice, of course. The good news, it could be ready in a few months.

“Maybe we can have a summer venue, summer fest of some level and we can have some folks ice skating in their shorts and T-shirts under the desert,” said Montano.

That’s right, ice skating in the summer in New Mexico.

“That would be really awesome because I would just lay in a snow angel on the ice,” said Albuquerque resident Catherine McNally.

A summer hangout isn’t all the city has planned. In December, it wants to turn the area into a winter attraction.

“We’d like to have a big Christmas tree gathering,” said Montano.

The goal is to make downtown the thriving spot it once was.

“During the evenings and weekends it’s kind of a quiet zone and it would be good to have people using this part of town for their recreation,” said Albuquerque resident Roberto Ortega.

So whether it’s lacing up a pair of ice skates under the scorching desert sun or enjoying a more conventional glide during the winter months, the city hopes the small rink will turn into a big tradition.

“Successful cities have successful downtowns and if this adds to this piece, let’s do it,” said Montano.

The city says it will use the same synthetic rink it did over Christmas. It plans on buying extra mats to expand it.

No word on a cost yet, but the city is applying for a grant to pay for it.

About 1,100 people used the miniature rink in the month it was open after Christmas.

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