MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - An ice rink made its way to the Grand Strand, for the first time, and has been called a success.
Since the Myrtle Beach Ice Rink opened in November, people have been lacing up and skating every day. Ice rink representatives want to see a rink freeze over in the Grand Strand for good.
The Myrtle Beach Mall General Manager Joe Perl said the mall could be an option for a permanent rink. Right now though, the focus is on keeping the temporary rink open a little bit longer.
Pearl says the rink has met expectations, it's even attracted skaters up to the age of 86.
"Certainly anytime you bring people to the shopping center that's always good. That's always an opportunity for our retail partners to be able to sell to the customers and for the customers to kind of see what we have," said Perl.
It's also an opportunity to show that there's more to come for the mall. Perl said the rink is the first phase of mall growth. The second phase will be an exterior renovation, and the third will be changes to the food court.
The rink was originally set to close this week, but the mall decided it was doing so well to keep it open until February 1. Perl says there is potential for it to stay open even longer. As far as a permanent stay, Steve Elias of Grand Strand Ice Management, wants to do what he can to glide forward to build a rink that freezes in place, for good.
"Wintertime sports tourism would take off," said Elias. "Well, ice hockey, figure skating, curling, broom ball, learn-to-skate programs, learn-to-play programs, youth hockey teams, girls hockey teams, adult hockey teams."
He helped Myrtle Beach Mall get this one on the ground. He thinks the rink would be the tip of the iceberg for Grand Strand off-season growth.
"You would have heads in beds, you'd have people coming to the hotels, people going to the restaurants, people going to the malls and shopping and generating some more additional wintertime revenue, in the shoulder seasons," said Elias.
These are some of the ideas Elias wants to talk over with county leaders. He wants to ask for them to survey the public, using the same survey he has posted online. The goal is just to see if you are on board. If that is the case, he can continue his ongoing attempt to bring a permanent rink here.
Steve Elias will be presenting his plan to horry county leaders tomorrow. You can support him at the county council meeting tomorrow night at 6 p.m.