Fresno's ice skating rink does better than expected

December 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The people behind Downtown Fresno's ice skating rink report attendance has been better than expected. In the last three weeks, 8,700 people have taken to the ice and visitors can't stop raving. "When we moved here from Illinois, my kids were like, 'Oh, there's no snow, there's no ice.' And then when I told them there was ice skating in Downtown Fresno, they were very excited about it," said Joanna Woodyatt of Exeter.

The ice skating rink was brought to the Fulton Mall through the Downtown Fresno Partnership in an effort to get people downtown. Some businesses along the Fulton Mall have benefited, including Fresno Brewing Company. "It's definitely a whole family affair. People are coming out, you know, date night. They'll come in have a drink, go skating, come back, you know. It's been fantastic so far," said owner Ephiram Bosse.

Still, most businesses along the Fulton Mall remain closed after dark despite the new addition. California Pants is one of the few retailers open past 6 p.m. The manager isn't impressed. "Nothing's changed. It's the same. I don't see any difference," said Ali Nour.

Kate Borders with the Downtown Fresno Partnership says the effort is working. She calls year one a learning experience for the partnership, the businesses, and visitors. "You don't do anything for today. You do it for, 'How is this going to affect us in the future?' And I think this will have a positive effect for many years to come," said Borders.