Courtesy Cleveland City Council
With holiday festivities across the city in full swing, from Winterfest downtown to Nela Park's annual light display, and Christmas less than ten days away, some Cleveland residents have wondered why the Halloran skating rink (3550 West 117) isn't yet open for the season, or doesn't appear to be.
The public rink is the only one operated by the city and is free for visitors. (Skates are available to rent for $1.)
A postcard to Ward 11 residents from councilman Brian Mooney in November announced the rink would open on Nov. 22, weather permitting.
It's now Dec. 16.
"I just talked to a resident about this," Mooney told Scene.
While the ice was laid right around Thanksgiving, the rink didn't welcome its first skaters until last week, Mooney said, and even then the operation has been on a day-to-day schedule.
According to the councilman, the delay and the erratic schedule are due to a few things.
"One factor is the outside weather," he said. "Even though you have cooling underneath, when you have temperatures near the 60s, you just can't do it. It's too sloppy and wet on those warm days, and we've had quite a few of them this year."
Halloran is a true ice skating rink, with real frozen water, which means the weather is a factor for its schedule and not for rinks like the one at Wade Oval, which is synthetic ice.
The second factor is the roof, which is full of holes and scheduled to be replaced in 2022.
"The roof is in such poor condition, there are so many leaks that water comes through and drips on the ice and it creates holes that make it dangerous for skating," he said.
Everything aligned last week, and Halloran was open Monday and Tuesday this week, but was closed yesterday and is closed today.
That information can only be found if you call the rink — the Halloran page on the city's website still has the fall schedule,
and there's no dedicated social media — which Mooney admits is a problem.
"You know the city's website," he said. "The city can do better, we hope we do better."
Halloran is also still operating with limited capacity and residents must schedule a time in advance, which, yes, can only be done by calling the rink at 216-664-4187.
Debuted as an open-air affair on Christmas Eve in 1959, a roof was added in 1975 and the city invested $1.5 million in the facility in recent years.
"It's one of the rare, true outdoor skating rinks," Mooney said.
Halloran skating rink in 1960/ Cleveland Memory Project