2014-10-16 / Opinion

Let's Consider 'Ice Cold Cardines'

To the Editor:

Now that the "surprise" announcement by Newport Harbor Corp. (NHC) of the sale of the Yachting Center to Peregrine Group LLC has gradually settled in, it occurs to me that both principals could easily garner some jointly beneficial goodwill with very little effort and expense. Hopefully, given the impressive stature and track record of both parties involved, the result of this transaction may well prove to be positive for the city, for businesses and for Newport residents.

Nevertheless, it was a great disappointment to my sons and grandchildren, as it was to many families, that the ice skating rink at the Yachting Center would permanently close. Consequently, in the short term, I would suggest that both companies immediately announce that the rink will, in fact, open this winter so that everyone can once again enjoy its cheerful atmosphere. In addition, the Winter Festival would benefit greatly with the advertisement of its availability.

Thereafter, NHC should consider donating the entire enterprise, including the Zamboni, the rink, rental skates and all other equipment to the City of Newport. Ironically, the city already owns the perfect site for its relocation, namely Cardines Field. What could be better than skating under the lights a la "Frozen Fenway" at Newport's own historic ballpark, "Ice Cold Cardines." The park already has a concession stand, plenty of area for picnic tables, seating for spectators, areas for skate rentals, a sound system and best of all, ample parking across the street. I'm sure that the Newport Gulls and many other local and statewide sponsors would rush to sign on as sponsors.

I noted recently that, in order to lure votes for its casino proposal, the would-be developer of Newport Grand has suddenly added an "Olympic-sized skating rink" (an amenity lacking at the real Monte Carlo Casino) near the rear entrance of the building. I can think of no worse venue for a family skating rink. Parents could quietly slip off to the tables while their impressionable children not only learn to skate, but also develop an appreciation for the atmosphere surrounding a casino. While not advocating for either position on the upcoming vote, certainly the parking lot of a casino is not a proper place to teach the lesson of "like parent-like child." So, let's go NHC, Peregrine Group LLC, City of Newport and let's go anyone who thinks this idea can work! Make some calls and write some letters. Soon, the snow will be flying and with everybody's generosity, cooperation and help, "Ice Cold Cardines" can become a reality and a valuable permanent asset of the city.

Ronald J. Lowenstein

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