Burbank to renew its temporary skating rink

In 2013, an ice skating rink was set up behind Burbank City Hall. On Tuesday, the Burbank City Council unanimously approved an agreement to bring back the temporary ice rink on the corner of Third Street and Orange Grove Avenue.

In 2013, an ice skating rink was set up behind Burbank City Hall. On Tuesday, the Burbank City Council unanimously approved an agreement to bring back the temporary ice rink on the corner of Third Street and Orange Grove Avenue.

(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

With temperatures threatening to rise again into the 90s, it may be hard to imagine an 82-foot by 50-foot sheet of ice returning to downtown Burbank in less than two months, but a temporary ice-skating rink, now in its third year, will again fill the parking lot behind Burbank City Hall as part of an effort to draw shoppers and diners to the area.

Not only has feedback from visitors to the rink been positive said Mary Hamzoian, the city’s economic development manager, “but more importantly, the rink continues to receive praise from the merchants and restaurants in downtown Burbank.”

The Burbank City Council unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday night that allows most of the parking lot on the corner of Third Street and Orange Grove Avenue to be used for the holiday attraction, sponsored by the nearby Downtown Burbank Partnership. Property owners in the area agree to tax themselves for promotions and events in the area, and city funds are not used for the rink.

“It is one of the most delightful family events that we sponsor in the wintertime,” said Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy. “I think that it brings a lot of delight to a lot of young people.”

New this year will be a nearby holiday market featuring gifts, food and entertainment — chalk artists, face painters or holiday carolers for example — that would not compete with downtown businesses, Hamzoian said. It’s about “enlivening that area and creating more reasons for people to stay and hang out,” she said.

The rink drew more than 17,500 skaters during a six-week season its first year and about 18,000 last year over an eight-week span. This year, however, the skating season will be abbreviated to roughly three weeks — Dec. 10 to Jan. 3.

It will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with extended hours to 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission will be $10, with $4 skate rentals and skating aids available for $6.

As in prior years, Los Angeles-based Ice America will construct and operate the rink. Skating lessons by instructors from Pickwick Gardens Ice Skating Rink will be offered on Saturday mornings. An appearance by Santa is planned for a Burbank YMCA event, and details for other events are still being worked out, Hamzoian said.

Also, in response to concerns raised by Burbank City Council members and residents about the rink’s use of water during the ongoing drought, the water used for the ice will be only 25% drinking water. The initial 7,600 gallons or so — “less than half of a swimming pool,” Hamzoian said — will be recycled water.

However, due to health concerns with heating recycled water, the Zamboni machine, which will resurface the ice every 90 minutes, will be filled with fresh tap water — about 125 gallons a day.

The water must be reused when the rink shuts down, said Bonnie Teaford, the city’s Public Works director. It will likely be used to water landscaping and trees in the area, she said.

The Downtown Burbank Partnership funded the program for about $30,000 this year, compared to roughly $95,000 last year. Hamzoian said the organization chose to support the holiday-themed event, but decided in general to “scale back” spending on events, focusing instead on maintenance and capital improvements, which is the reason for the shorter season.

The partnership needed the city’s approval to use the 51 parking spaces it will occupy in the City Hall lot for six weeks, including setup and tear-down time. The council approved the use 5-0, foregoing an estimated $3,900 in rental fees for use of the space.

Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes asked if there had been any negative comments about the rink or complaints about the loss of parking in the downtown area, but Hamzoian said there had been none. Councilman Will Rogers said he had concerns about parking and other issues, but he said Hamzoian had gone a long way to address them.

“I know that this rink helps the quality of life,” Talamantes said. “I don’t skate, but I like watching what’s happening with the families and the kids enjoying themselves.”

Hamzoian reminded him he could come down for skating lessons on Saturday mornings.