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Synthetic ice rink in Downtown Commons

A portable synthetic ice rink is seen Nov. 27, 2018, in downtown Twin Falls. 

TWIN FALLS — A synthetic ice rink in downtown Twin Falls has been packed up and put away for another day.

The Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency purchased the rink for about $30,000 and set it up in the Downtown Commons at Main Avenue South and Hansen Street East, across from City Hall. The rink had been open since Nov. 30 but was taken down Tuesday.

“We thought it was a great thing for the city to add to the community,” said Paul Melni, owner of AWOL Adventure Sports, which handled the skate rentals. “We had fun with it.”

While anyone could skate in the rink while it was up, AWOL offered skate rentals for $5 for those who didn’t have them. The business opened rentals for about 37 days and welcomed 680 people to the rink. That number doesn’t include those who brought their own skates, or the 100 or so who showed up for free rentals on the first day, he said.

The most common complaint Melni heard was about the rink’s size. The 50-by-30 rink was surrounded by a small fence, and some people wished the rink were bigger.

“For the most part, everyone had a good time out there, especially the little kids; they had a blast,” Melni said.

AWOL Adventure Sports ended up losing money on the rentals this year, but Melni said he plans to do it again next year if the URA agrees.

“We’re doing it for the community and to keep our kids employed,” he said.

AWOL paid a handful of its seasonal employees $10 an hour to come work during their winter break. Next year, he expects to have less up-front capital expenses, and Melni wants to close the rentals after Christmas break. The skate rentals really dropped off this winter after the break, he said, but had been open daily between Dec. 15 and Jan. 6.

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