DES MOINES, Iowa — “This will be our first New Year’s Eve that we’re not open,” said Robbin McClelland, manager of Brenton Skating Plaza.
Brenton Skating Plaza is putting safety ahead of profits this holiday weekend, even though this is typically its busiest time of the year. McClelland said with frigid winter weather in the forecast, it’s better to be safe than sorry and keep the plaza closed until Tuesday.
“We do have a policy that if the temperatures are below zero, especially with the wind chill, that we close anyway,” said McClelland. “This was a little extreme, then when we looked out into the forecast and saw it for four days. We haven’t had that happen, I don’t believe in the history that we’ve been open.”
Despite the extreme temperatures, Brian Loose of Des Moines says he’s not going to let the cold weather keep him from enjoying himself this New Year’s Eve.
“Well, I’m lucky,” said Loose. “I live downtown, so I can walk several places. I don’t have to worry about being out too long, so that’s a benefit.”
Chad Kennelly lives in the suburbs in West Des Moines, but says neither distance nor weather are going to be obstacles to his New Year’s Eve plans.
“I’m coming downtown,” said Kennelly. “I’m actually going to take a Lyft or an Uber to get down here, because I obviously don’t drink or drive, so yeah, it’s not keeping me inside…I’d rather go out and have fun with my friends, and I can brave the cold for one night.”
Kyle Pritchard, general manager of Tonic on Court Avenue, says he understands it’s going to be cold as people ring in the New Year, so he’s going to do his best to accommodate, even after closing time.
“A hundred percent, a hundred percent,” said Pritchard. “I will be happy to let them wait for their Ubers or if they do take a cab, or just sober rides in general. Nobody wants them out there freezing, so yeah I’ll be happy to let them stand inside.”
Sergeant Nathan Ludwig, Public Information Officer for Iowa State Patrol, understands some people will be on the roads this weekend; he just wants them to take every precaution possible.
“We understand that people are out and about right now,” said Sgt. Ludwig. “It would be a good time to pack that winter survival kit, take time to make sure you’ve got plenty of washer fluid, and your wipers are good in your car and your tires are good and most of all just ask yourself that question: do I need to go out? Or, do I want to go out? So just take your time, is the biggest thing.”