City Plaza, ice skating on tap for Raleigh

July 20, 2009 5:10:31 PM PDT
Workers are scrambling to complete the City Plaza project in Raleigh, while the Downtown Raleigh Alliance is planning something special for winter. Fifty-five-foot tall light towers are in place along with the frames for four retail pavilions and the base for a motion-sensing water fountain that will be called City Plaza.

Downtown employee Gabrielle Godel said there is not much to do downtown. "Unless you come down here to do business, you don't really stay down because there's nothing here," she said.

Godel believes City Plaza is a big step up for downtown.

But to the south of that project, another project is not going so well.

The plan was to build two towers in the space, and it would be called Charter Square.

The Charter Square project is another victim -- at least temporarily -- of the frozen credit market, but some are hoping to thaw that and heat things up with ice.

"The fact that Charter Square is not going to be built this year, we wanted to convert that into an opportunity," said David Diaz, Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance envisions a temporary ice skating rink in the space. It would open in early December and stay through January.

"It's sort of our Rockefeller Plaza, but in Raleigh," Diaz said. "The vendor we're working with has ice rinks in California and Florida. These ice rinks can work in up to 60 degree weather."

Boosters hope it's a way to weather the recession, which has prevented all elements of the downtown plan from coming together.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance plans to launch a fundraising drive soon and hopes to raise $100,000 for the project.

Backers said they are confident the rink will happen this winter and skaters would have to pay to hit the ice.


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