Although an ice skating rink would be welcomed by many, Monument Square is, in my opinion, the wrong location because of the potential dangers.
Traffic is heavy and fast-moving with frequent, rapid lane-changing. Parking is limited and difficult. Drivers might stop to let off or pick up skaters anywhere there is a gap between parked cars. Some skaters will cross streets with their skates on.
The plan presented to the Common Council was definitely incomplete. Not addressed were such issues as liability, security, supervision, policies and procedures, potential for structural damage to the Square, or long-term plans. Will there be hot food or drink available? Will there be shelter for spectators/drivers/families?
Some potential problems could be avoided by designating drop-off and pickup zones; posting and enforcing traffic control: “15 mph when children are present;” posting procedures to report injuries, bullying, or suspicious behavior; providing adequate public sanitation facilities; and comprehensive planning.
Neither of the entities proposing the rink (Racine Park and Recreation Department and Downtown Racine Corp.) nor the Common Council performed their due diligence. More urgent than the potential for more lawsuits, however, is the immediate need to address safety and security issues.
Please, everyone: Be watchful, be careful, be safe.
Robert J. Wortock