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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.

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