I finally visited the new ice rink in Veterans Plaza yesterday and, while I have a long history of falling down while ice skating, I was excited to see all of the people there, even in yesterday's not-quite-a-snowstorm.
Perhaps I'm being stubborn, but what exactly is the difference between ice skating in this space during the winter and skateboarding during the summer? The only one I can see is that the ice skating rink is an organized activity, with set hours and fees and a a contract with an ice rink company that produces money for Montgomery County.
I still think the ban on skateboarding in Veterans Plaza and the way it was handled was sloppy at best and quite harmful at worst. If we can organize ice skating, why can't we organize skateboarding in Veterans Plaza? We charge for people to skate at the Olney Manor Skate Park, so it's not like the county can't make money off of this. Ice skating and non-ice skating aren't that different, but it's surprising that one is socially acceptable and can be done in a public space in the middle of downtown, but the other is wrongly associated with a "bad element" and has to be done in a controlled setting far away from other people. To me, this represents a lack of imagination on the part of our county's leaders.
Of course, ice skating is the only thing that will take place in the plaza until next spring, so we have plenty of time to find a way to make this work - or sit on our thumbs and complain when the humble clack-clack of skate trucks returns to downtown Silver Spring once again.
By the way, I've found that the website for finding information about the ice rink can be difficult to locate, but easy to remember once you do: It's silverspringiceskating dot com.