A lot of positives for ice rink

Pauls Valley's second go-around with a skating rink featuring real ice appears to have a lot of positives not only locally but for some living in the surrounding region.

This past holiday season was the second straight for the city of Pauls Valley to offer the ice skating rink in the local train depot area.

Becky Ledbetter is the city representative working the last two seasons to make a rink with real ice a reality in Pauls Valley.

She says there were a number of factors that made it a good season for the rink.

“It was a great year. We had so much positive feedback,” Ledbetter said while updating members of the PV Tourism Board.

“But to be honest, it's just so great to see the community come together for this, the excitement on the faces of kids coming to skate, to see all the families there together, it makes it all worth it.

“We can always get better, but it was a success this year.”

Also making it a good year were the numbers as more than 2,500 people came to skate around on the local rink.

That compares to just over 2,000 during the first season a year earlier.

Ledbetter also says the tourism related draw of the rink helps make it a good year.

“We had several out of town visitors come to the rink. It definitely brought in tons of people, and tons of people from the Ardmore area.

“If we do that again I would like to advertise more south. Next time I plan to use a map to show people where it's at,” she said about the rink set up right off state Highway 19 near the local train depot.

During her brief summary of the season Ledbetter added some of the visitors included church youth groups from places like Ardmore and Vanoss.

“People were thanking Pauls Valley for having an ice rink,” she said.

“They said they didn't have one where they lived.”

The numbers on the down side is the rink didn't make more than was spent.

With private sponsorships and tourism funds being combined to pay for the rink, it finished around $11,000 “in the hole” this year, while there were also less sponsors.

This year's temporary rink cost around $37,200, which compares to last year's total of nearly $58,000.

“We went smaller than we did last year, but it was still big,” Ledbetter said about the rink's actual size.

Tourism board members like Randy McGee made it clear they think the holiday ice rink idea has a bright future in Pauls Valley.

“No matter what the numbers are I think it's important we keep doing this because it will go up,” McGee said about the rink and numbers of visitors in the future.

Fellow board member Jesse Alvarado likes Ledbetter's idea of better tracking exactly where next year's visitors come from to check out the local rink.

“I like the fact you plan to track where they're coming from,” Alvarado said.

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