Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Red Arrow Park Could Be Summer Roller Rink

Parks will develop a plan to operate a roller rink for when winter ice skating shuts down.

By - Mar 15th, 2022 07:45 pm
Red Arrow Park. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Red Arrow Park. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The ice rink at Red Arrow Park might soon be put to a new use as a roller rink in the summer.

The Milwaukee County Board is considering a resolution sponsored by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and Sup. Ryan Clancy that asks Milwaukee County Parks to develop a plan to use the ice skating rink, called the “Slice of Ice,” as a roller rink.

The ice rink in Red Arrow Park was developed in 1999 with public and private funding. The rink is approximately 128 feet by 95 feet. It is built on top of a refrigeration system with coils below the concrete. During the winter, the parks department operates the ice rink which includes skate rentals for the public.

Sup. Clancy told the board’s Parks, Energy and Environment Committee that the ice rink is a popular asset during the winter that “simply sits idle” the rest of the year, noting that it seems to have a “tremendous amount of possibility.”

“I love this idea, I think the 80’s and 90’s are totally making a comeback. People are like all into roller skating,” said Sup. Liz Sumner. “I just think there couldn’t be a more perfect time to implement something like this at Red Arrow Park.”

Sup. Felesia Martin said she was “very pleased and enthusiastic” when she saw the resolution, noting that roller skating in Downtown would provide a healthy activity that contributes to the county’s goal of becoming the healthiest in the state.

Terrence Clarke, who owns and operates a roller skating business called Roll Train with Ellen Fine, spoke in favor of the proposal. “We’ve been trying to get this area to skate at for some years now,” he said.

He said he’d already been in touch with another local roller rink owner who would be able to supply rentals if the plan comes to fruition. “We’re trying to create a downtown atmosphere of healthy activity, with scheduled sessions, theme sessions, for everyone to be a part of,” he said.

County Parks Director Guy Smith said he understands the excitement for roller skating and ice skating downtown. But he said the department’s skilled trades will need to assess the rink’s viability as a roller rink.

Peter Bratt, director of skilled trades for parks, said it’s important to preserve the concrete surface of the ice rink. “This surface needs to be kept in the best shape possible, to ensure that there will be no impact on the development of ice sheets,” he said.

“Any stains, surface contamination and damage, whether it be adhesives or materials on the concrete could impact the building of the ice sheets on the rink,” he said. “So we just want to be very careful with protecting this existing asset that we have.”

The committee voted unanimously to approve the resolution. It will go to the full board for approval later this month.

Categories: MKE County, Parks, Weekly

One thought on “MKE County: Red Arrow Park Could Be Summer Roller Rink”

  1. Polaris says:

    Interesting…this idea was floated by someone about three months ago on the online comments map provided by the city’s Connecting MKE – Downtown Plan 2040 initiative.

    Great idea, and quick work! 🙂

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