Ice Rink on Charter Square or What Else?

Photo on Flickr (via LWY)

I’m sure as most of you know, the era of little credit is upon us and recently it has affected the start of construction at Charter Square. The Raleigh City Council has given the developers an extension and ideas are being thrown around for temporary uses for the area on top of the concrete foundation. From the linked article in the N&O, some ideas are for an ice rink or for artificial turf to be laid across the concrete. Temporary use of the area while we wait for the economy to strengthen is a great idea because we have the flexibility to try new things. If they work, it can be moved to something more permanent. If not, it will result in only a small loss and good proof that the idea does not work in downtown. Here are some other inexpensive ideas that could be worth looking into while we have a fluid space before the towers are built.

1. Stage

A public stage could be set up for use by anyone. Think of a common area in a mall, there is always something on display or special event going on, in and around the elevated area. Groups could use it to gather around for outdoor presentations or to entertain Fayetteville Street pedestrians.

2. Art Exhibits

Like the outdoor art that is coming to City Plaza, the space could be used for outdoor art or could be an extension to what is on display nearby.

3. Wifi/power hotspot

Set up some benches, a couple power stations, dedicated wifi, and we’ll have a hive of internet surfers relaxing outside. This is similar to what Toyota recently did as part of their Prius marketing campaign. Solar collectors were installed with benches and wifi to provide you power for your laptop and cell phone as you access the net outside.

4. Sports field

If the artificial turf is laid out, we could go one step further. Paint some lines, set up two goals, and a mini field is born for pickup games of soccer or football.

5. Outdoor convention center space

The space could also be rented to the convention center. The crew running it could manage the land and use it for outdoor setups if clients prefer an outdoor, sidewalk atmosphere to being indoors.

Photo on Flickr (via Toyota USA)

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  1. i thought the city was already installing wifi downtown? also, the space behind the convention center is going to be an outdoor ampitheater so i don’t know that they’d be interested in having more outdoor space to manage.

  2. Except that that ampitheater space is on a slope so it doesn’t really lend itself that well to something like perhaps an outdoor boat/garden/etc show.

    You can do more with a level surface. Personally I think that either a sports field or outdoor convention space is the best way to go. However convention space is harder to utilize by the public where there isn’t an event planned. Else it’s just a slab of concrete.

  3. The sports field idea would be awesome. There are a lot of talented athletes around the Raleigh area. It would be great for pick-up and league flag football games. People could come by and watch while they were downtown. Great for the community.

    I also like the ice rink idea.

  4. This being Raleigh, nothing cool will happen since everything else thats great ends up not getting done (such as the public art on Fayetteville St.)

  5. All cool ideas (especially the sports field idea)!! But, from an engineering standpoint, was the structure designed to account for loads that these uses require?

  6. No offense, but since the structure was designed to support two high-rise buildings, I’m sure it can handle the load of a skating rink.

  7. Short answer… the loads from the high rises would go to the columns, each floor is supported by beams and slabs that are designed for their designed uses (office space, residential, crowds/assembly – the one we need!) plus whatever dead loads would be applied (weight of a couple inches of ice or whatever)

  8. How about an open-air market? Set up little semi-permanent tents with vendors selling produce, baked goods, street food, art/crafts, whatever. Make money off of the convention-going tourists at the Marriott & Sheraton, while at the same time offering more retail options for downtown workers and residents.

  9. I’ve heard a lot about the Raleigh On Ice outdoor ice skating event that is coming to a few of the shopping centers this winter, so I don’t see why we need an ice rink downtown. Plus, the credit crunch may last for months, so why not do something less expensive than an ice rink that is not seasonal and that everyone can enjoy. It’s ridiculous for the city to spend this kind of money on something so temporary anyway.

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