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Covington approves funding for ice rink
One-of-a-kind entertainment venue to operate from Legion Field through holiday season
Ice Days skating rink
Photo courtesy of Ice Days

COVINGTON, Ga. — Ice skating is coming to Legion Field in Covington.

Members of the Covington City Council approved a resolution during a special-called meeting Tuesday night to enter into an agreement with Ice Days, LLC, to offer the one-of-a-kind experience to this holiday season.

For 12 weeks, Ice Days will set up a covered 5,500-square-foot ice rink at Legion Field to operate from mid-November to mid-February. Accompanying the rink will be holiday-themed movies on a large outdoor screen on select nights, fire pits gingerbread house decorating and other family-friendly activities.

“One of the city’s main initiatives is to improve the quality of life for our residents and this is a great addition,” City Manager Scott Andrews said. “I have had past successes with an ice rink and the response was overwhelmingly positive from residents, merchants and visitors. This will take the holiday celebration in Covington to another level.”

The ice rink will be available for all ages to enjoy; however, anyone under the age of 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Adult skaters can enjoy two hours of ice time for just $12 while kids can skate for $10. The rink is also available for team building activities, birthday parties and private events. Additional operational details will be released soon, Andrews said. 

After councilwomen Susie Keck and Fleeta Baggett made an initial motion and second to enter a contract with Ice Days “in the amount not to exceed $30,000 to Ice Days, LLC, $31,000 in electrical infrastructure, plus utilities for year one with automatic renewal in the contract and termination language as appropriate,” the motion was amended to ensure Ice Days complies with the city and/or the governor’s executive order concerning face coverings.

The $31,000 cost for infrastructure improvements is a one-time fee that will be paid from the economic development budget, Community Development Director Trey Sanders said during the meeting. The improvements will prepare the site for Ice Days to properly install and operate the ice rink.

To help offset the cost, Ice Days offers multiple advertising opportunities for local businesses on equipment used by skaters and on the walls around the rink. The city’s advertising goal for year one is $10,000, Sanders said.

The annual rate paid to Ice Days would gradually be lowered over years two, three, four and five, from $30,000 to as little as $15,000, Sanders said.

Ice Days is a family-owned company run by Jim Gomez and is based out of Conyers. Gomez said he was excited to partner with the city of Covington and believed the city’s investment would have potential to pay off.

Gomez said the ice rink helps drives tourism in Conyers and other locations he’s taken the rink. Last year, he said there were up to 17,000 skaters drawn to Conyers over a 12-week span and and more than 30,000 total visitors. Gomez said 80% of those visitors were from out of town.

Gomez said he also owns a candy shop in Olde Town Conyers and said the ice rink also drives lots of traffic to downtown businesses. He said there was no reason it couldn’t be the same in Covington.

To help the downtown businesses in Covington, Gomez said he and city administrators had discussed providing free transportation to the rink from the Square among other locations. He said doing so would also alleviate any parking issues.

“The addition of the ice rink helps complete our vision for Christmas in Covington,” Andrews said. “The goal is for people to spend an evening of shopping and dining on the Square, then enjoy the lights along the Cricket Frog Trail as they walk to Legion Field to enjoy the activities.”

Councilmembers recently approved an expanded holiday light display that includes Pace Street and the portion of the Cricket Frog Trail from Pace Street to the trail entrance at Legion Field, Andrews said. 

People should be able to skate regardless of the weather thanks to the tent, Gomez said. Typically if rain hits the ice, no one can skate, but as long as it remains covered, there should be no issues, Gomez said. If it gets too warm and ice begins to melt, Gomez said that’s OK. Even if a film of water overtakes the ice due to condensation, people can still skate, but he said the staff works to keep it as dry as possible. 

“We are honored and excited to be coming to Covington," Gomez said. “This will be great for all facets of the community and hopefully this will become a yearly tradition families can enjoy.”