SJ officials hope downtown skate rink will drive people back to city, boost small businesses

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
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San Jose's Aloha Downtown Skate rink opened to the public over the weekend, as officials hope it will encourage people to eat and shop locally.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- After a few difficult years, downtown San Jose is alive once again rolling into the holiday season.

After opening to the public over the weekend, city officials and locals descended on the Aloha Downtown Skate rink at at Circle of the Palms Plaza.

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Besides offering a good time for residents, one of the rink's main goals is encourage people to spend more time this holiday season shopping and eating locally.

Not just in the downtown area, but throughout San Jose.

Outgoing Mayor Sam Liccardo says he hopes it'll provide a boost to small businesses - many of which are still struggling.

"Being able to bring people back out onto the sidewalks, into the public spaces again, helps revitalize our stores as well. And we want folks to be shopping local, not just sitting behind a screen," said Liccardo.

In the past, this was the site of the city's ice skating rink. But this year, due to a variety of factors, people are hanging up their ice skates for roller skates.

"It's a little better to the earth. It also ended up being much more feasible for the downtown association to pull off. The ice skating rink was costing a lot of money. There were a lot of logistical challenges," said Liccardo.

But the change seemed to be a hit for many people we spoke with Tuesday.

"I'd say the roller blading better because I'm better at it a little more," said skater Max Hernandez.

So whether you're lacing up your old skates for a spin around the rink, or trying to check things off your holiday shopping list, city leaders say they hope you'll do it in San Jose.

Fueling a sense of community unlike anywhere else in the Bay Area.

"San Jose is such a unique place in the sense you have people who have been here generations upon generations. But one of things I've found out is so many people are coming in that are relatively new to San Jose, and they're like, wow this place is amazing. This place feels like home," said Gumby Marques of the San Jose Downtown Association.

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