By Gabriella Galloway
Entirely East Lansing
East Lansing’s Valley Court Park will be home to a pop up ice skating rink for the month of February.
Funding for the ice rink was provided by the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority(DDA) and Downtown Management Board(DMB).
The city decided to install the rink in order to draw more people into the downtown area and to gather people of the community around a shared interest.
“This is only my first time here but I love that the city has installed this ice rink,” said Maria Mastej, a resident of East Lansing. “I hope this becomes an annual thing because it gives the community something fun to do in the winter.”
The rink opened on Feb. 11 and will remain open until Feb. 25. It opens every day at 3 p.m. and closes at 9 p.m.
Signs around the rink state, “Caution. Use At Your Own Risk,” because the weather causes some melting concerns.
On Feb. 13 the rink experienced some issues when two holes were found in the ice, causing the city to close the rink for that day. However, it reopened in time for Valentine’s Day.
According to the Downtown East Lansing Facebook page, many community members are concerned with the closing of the rink and think the city should extend the time the rink is up.
Lori Mullins, the East Lansing community and economic development administrator said, “The rink did take longer to freeze than anticipated. An extension is possible, but it would be conditional on the weather conditions and volunteer availability to support the additional days that the rink would be open.”
The city is encouraging community members to volunteer to supervise and help maintain the rink. Volunteers can be observers or join the snow shovel club. In order to volunteer, visit the www.cityofeastlansing.com.
“I think the ice rink certainly brings the community,” said community volunteer Grace Carmichael. “I’ve seen students here, older folks, and kids and it kind of just brings everyone together in one area. Plus everyone loves ice skating.”
Along with the DDA and DMB, many local businesses made the rink possible by their sponsorships. One of the many is Biggby Coffee.
“It’s a nice thing for the community and we don’t have anything like that around here,” said Katelyn Beaty, a Biggby employee.
Mike Wylie from the Student Book Store, also a ice rink sponsor said,“we try and do what we can to support the community and make things a little more fun down here.”
Other sponsors include: Beggar’s Banquet, Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub, The Riv, Rick’s American Cafe, Goomba’s Pizza, Charlie Kang’s, Weathervane Advisors, Harrison Roadhouse, MSU Federal Credit Union, Martin Luther Chapel and East Lansing Forward Community Group.
The city asks members to respect stated rules including no hockey, no food or drink, and children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. The rink is free and has room for up to 50 skaters in the rink. Skate rental is not available. The city hopes to bring the ice rink around each winter season.