Discover Schenectady hopes new ice rink will boost tourism, economy

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SCHENECTADY – It is a project that has been months in the making — a glistening ice rink in the Electric City, nestled right along the Mohawk Harbor.

"You can’t help but smile. This is such a great environment. It kind of brings you back to your childhood," said Todd Garofao, executive director of Discover Schenectady.

Crews were making final preparations for the Discover Schenectady River Rink, presented by Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York. NewsChannel 13’s Christina Talamo and Sam Hesler got the chance to slip on some skates and hit the ice.

The rink opens to the public on Friday, and people can purchase tickets and either rent or bring their own skates. It will be open all winter long, with different theme nights each week. The rink is ready to welcome everyone, whether they are gliding like a figure skater or hanging on for dear life.

"You come out here, you hold hands. You hang onto the boards if you have to, but it is fun for everyone," Garofao added.

With a Beekman 1802 pop-up shop and restaurants like Druthers located just steps from the rink, Discover Schenectady is hoping to create an experience for people.

"In tourism, it is all about extending the season." he explained. "This tends to be a quieter time of the year, so this gives local restaurants and shops a boost. We are not far from downtown, so there are great restaurants all around here. This really kind of highlights the whole area."

Flight on Ice, the company managing the rink, says it is a big investment, but one that will pay off over time.

"The goal here isn’t to come to town and do these one year. We are trying to look ahead to year three, four and five. Normally, that’s when you can see those returns," said Jon Schaffer, owner of Flight on Ice.

To find more information and purchase tickets, click here.