Downtown Lansing ice-skating rink re-opens outside city hall

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Michael Markoch

The ice rink outside Lansing’s city hall is made with a synthetic surface. The rink is open for public skating daily until 10 p.m.

Ice skating has returned for the second winter season on the plaza adjacent to Lansing’s city hall.

The 3,300-square-foot synthetic ice rink first opened Feb. 26. Lansing Parks and Recreation Director Brett Kaschinske said the rink helps Lansing fit in with what most people think about for a holiday setting in an urban downtown.

“Many cities like Detroit, Grand Rapids, Chicago, even New York, when they think about an urban, downtown atmosphere, they all have an ice-skating facility,” Kaschinske said. “There’s something about ice skating, especially during the holiday season, that people enjoy.”

Kaschinske said adding the rink has a positive impact on the community.

“Ice skating brings people downtown, which also helps to support our local businesses as people tend to shop and purchase beverages and food while they’re out and about,” Kaschinske said. “It’s about placemaking and activating the City Hall Plaza into a recreational destination.”

Skaters need to bring their own skates, but Kaschinske said the city would like to offer skate rentals at some point. 

Paul Brogan, owner of River Town Adventures, a canoe and kayak rental service in Lansing that has talked with city officials about skate rental, said the rink gives the city an added activity for its annual Silver Bells in the City and could be used for other events.

“This rink is also movable and can be relocated to other parks if necessary,” Brogan said.

Lisa Derrington-Fraser, who is an adult beginner ice skater, said she went to the downtown rink last year before starting lessons.

“Now that I have a little more experience, I want to go back to the rink this year since they opened it again, which was cool news,” Derrinton-Fraser said.

Derrington-Fraser said the rink is a fun atmosphere that people of all ages can enjoy.

“They just had it really set up well,” Derrington-Fraser said. “It was really family-friendly, there were a lot of little kids there when I’ve gone before and it’s just a really nice thing to have in the downtown area.”

One of the problems that city officials had with the rink last year was that it did not have enough lighting, so skaters were not able to enjoy the rink at night. Kaschinske said the city has brought in a different lighting company this year.

The rink will be open daily until 10 p.m. throughout the winter season.

“It’s great because you don’t have to pay to go,” Derrington-Fraser said. “I just think it’s a great thing to have an opportunity for people that are interested in skating to have a place to do so for free.”

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