One recent brisk Saturday morning I was walking through Eastern Market with my wife and daughter after a filling breakfast at Tortilla Cafe, and my little one asked, “Daddy is that a skating rink?” She was pointing at the flat concrete pad that was the home of the temporary market structure, across 7th Street SE from the permanent and historic market building. I think I responded with something vague like, “No that used to be the bottom of a building.” A split second later, I realized that my child was brilliant (okay, I am biased). Wouldn’t it be great fun to have an ice skating rink on Capitol Hill?
I realize that she asked that perhaps not out of intellectual supremacy but instead because it is a large, flat, very light grey surface that looks somewhat like the temporary skating rinks that pop up throughout the region during the winter. (Either way I am proud of her for making the connection.) It did bring a question to my mind though: what WOULD become of that concrete pad, now that the temporary building has been deconstructed and moved off-site?
The ultimate plan for the redevelopment of the Hine Junior High School site has the rough area where the concrete pad is located converted into a street to reconnect 7th and 8th Streets at C Street SE. The street would be lined to the north by a block of residential units and opened slightly on the south with a plaza and more residential. (THIH has covered the progress on the Hine site as it has unfolded and evolved.) The construction of the development, though, is still several years off. So in the meantime, what is to become of the giant concrete pad that sits with potential across the street from Eastern Market? Ice skating sounds like a good conversion, even if just for a year or two.
True, the Hill is getting an ice skating rink when Canal Park opens in the fall over in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood by Nationals Park, but a skating rink within walking distance of such a dense population of Hill residents, and in such a prominent gathering location, could be a great boost to the heart of the Hill in the coldest months, especially after the holidays have passed.