Erie Downtown Community Skate Rink Provides Affordable Family Fun: Community Gem
Thursday, February 23rd 2023, 10:26 AM EST
The second of four nights of the Erie Winter Carnival is underway in downtown Erie. A big feature of the festivities is the ice rink, installed around Thanksgiving and is in its last few days, open to the public.
While it’s a new gem, It is this week's Community Gem.
Blades are sharpened for the skates used after every visit on the Downtown Erie Community Skating Rink. The ice rink was created after requests in a community survey.
The survey was conducted by the Erie Downtown Partnership.
"We saw the need of activation of Perry Square during these off months, leading up to the holidays but also January and February," said Dave Tamulonis. "And through amazing contributions from partners like Erie Insurance were able to bring an incredible synthetic skating rink to downtown Perry Square this year."
David Tamulonis is the Events and Marketing Manger for Erie Downtown Partnership.
The rink debuted around the 2022 holiday season in east Perry Square, in the City’s Downtown with enough room for 32 skaters at a time.
It has brought in people to skate on Fridays and weekends for just $5 each.
It gives everyone a reason to come downtown, some people said 'I've never been downtown', it brings them downtown for great family fun," said Kim. "It's cheap, it's $5 a person, can't really find family fun that cheap."
Kim McMahon oversees the ice rink and leads a small staff. Money brought in from the paying skaters goes right back into the rink operations.
The skate rental fee pretty much goes back to paying them for their time, and keeping up the skating rink, and buying new maintenance equipment," said Tamulonis. "So, it's really all feeding back into the rink, and making sure we have sustainability with this program.
While most people think ice rinks are synonymous with winter, this one is different. It’s synthetic. That means it’s not real ice, and it’s not weather dependent.
The rink was made by an international company, Glice, which Tamulonis says has put up other rinks in Pennsylvania communities.
There's already plans for the 32 by 52 foot ice rink to come back to downtown Erie next winter season. However, the rink can be put up anytime during the year.
With thanks to the City of Erie, and other community partners, this ice rink investment is expected to be a place to rent for parties, and act as a year round spot for community enjoyment.Skaters must be at least four years old and be accompanied by an adult.It’s open Friday night until 8 p.m. then again Saturday noon - 8 p.m. The rink will be open on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., the final day of the season.