Canal Park Ice Rink opening draws big crowd, Mayor Gray

      Photo: Joshua Yospyn/ABC7

      Opening day for the Canal Park ice rink drew a crowd several hundred strong Friday.

      The freshly made ice was slick enough, but development around the ballpark has been slow.

      One of the first to open a Five Guys franchise six years ago, Neal Johnson's friends warned him not to build there. They told him it was too dangerous.

      But he said he had a vision and knew it was going to change.

      And while rinks aren't known as big moneymakers, the economic spinoff should be significant.

      "People are discovering there's a whole new world and this is an anchor right here," says Michael Stevens, Capitol Riverfront BID executive director.

      Restaurants around Washington Harbor's new rink are counting on creating a winter destination.

      Georgetown Plaza renovation cost $22.5 million. Canal park cost $20 million.

      To show how important the project is to the city, Mayor Vincent Gray was seen driving the ice resurfacer.

      The park is at 200 M St. SE.