Monday, October 12, 2009

long-awaited downtown ice rink takes form

Civic Building and Ice Rink Construction, October 2009 (3)
After years of civic wrangling, several close calls, and thirty-five thousand square feet of plastic grass, Silver Spring finally gets its ice-skating rink. Work commenced on the base of the elliptical rink at Ellsworth and Fenton last week. It's our first glimpse of what will become Veterans' Plaza, which with the Civic Building is the long-awaited centerpiece of the Downtown Silver Spring revitalization. And it'll be finished . . . eventually. Let's say next spring.

Meant to replace the Silver Spring Armory after it was demolished in 1998, the civic center and ice rink were nearly the casualty of budget cuts in 2005. That fall, "the Turf" was laid out across the still-vacant space as a placeholder, but no one knew what a destination the plastic green would become. The rink was nearly scrapped once and for all two summers ago when a town meeting was held to discuss plans for Veterans' Plaza before it was finally approved by the Planning Board.

Let's compare:

Veterans' Plaza and Civic Building Site Plan
Site plan of the new civic building and the ice rink (at top right).

Future Layout Of Veterans' Plaza
Layout of the plaza drawn on "the Turf" at the town meeting in 2007.

Civic Building and Ice Rink Construction, October 2009 (1)
The ice rink under construction now, with Downtown Silver Spring shops in the background.

Veterans' Plaza Skating Rink
Rendering of the completed plaza and civic building.


Terry in Silver Spring said...

I wish the new plaza had more plants, real or astroturfy. I've said this repeatedly, but big expanses of concrete and steps are an invitation to skateboarders. I hope this does turn out to be a nice gathering spot, and not a collecting space for drifting leaves and plastic bags.

Dan Reed said...

Are skateboarders unwelcome in a public space? (Should they be?) Particularly one I think they contributed to the popularity of before the new plaza was built.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I think they should have their own areas to skateboard in. When they start riding through areas in which people are supposed to be sitting, it drives the other users out. Running the skateboards along the edges of benches or other structures damages them.

ICE MAN said...

I have total respect for skateboarders, and there are many tricks that can be done with skate boards, but that happens in the summer. This rink might be small when its built and the ice is ready, but it has a good circle shape, and I think ice hockey players will have the freedom to practice ice hockey on this rink when its not busy with skating sessions, I also think there might eventually be some organized events for ice hockey in this winter rink. I'm excited.

ICE MAN said...

I'm excited that this rink is a good shape for hockey players to practice on their own when the rink isn't busy.

Sally Campbell said...

This plaza would be the center of attraction if there would be ice carvings where skaters can go around it. The non-ice skaters can also indulge themselves in admiring the ice sculptures.