Island Park ice skating is back on track for winter – The Morning Sun

Mt. Pleasant City Commissioners unanimously agreed Monday to another ice skating season at Island Park.

City staff recommended approval for use of the rink this winter, and commissioners approved use of up to $7,000, which City Manager Aaron Desentz said was likely a high figure.

Commissioners approved a rink purchase, setup, labour, water, supplies and other costs last year, but it wasn’t used until Jan. 7 , making a short season, parks and public spaces director Phil Biscorner said in a memo. to Desentz and William R. Mrdeza, Director of Community Services and Economic Development.

Last winter, Biscorner said, the rink was closed for five days and partially closed for four due to deteriorating ice conditions.

City staff halted nightly maintenance at the rink Feb. 19 but tried to keep it open for 10 more days, but temperatures rose that week, Biscorner said in the memo.

Full-time city staff logged 26 hours last year of snow removal, lighting control, inspections and maintenance, Biscorner said.

Seasonal staff logged 110.5 hours of ice maintenance work at night, he said.

Last winter, the rink was open or partially open for 47 days.

City staff sent a survey to residents regarding the rink and received 80 responses.

Of the respondents, 34 did not use the rink; 26 used the rink one to three times; 11 used it 4 to 6 times; four used it 7 to 9 times and five used the rink more than 10 times.

Fifty-five respondents said they would use the rink this winter, while 11 said they would not and 14 said they might use it.

Comments from residents, both in Mt. Pleasant and Union Township, included a desire to see the rink return, that they recently purchased skates, that they didn’t know it, that skaters didn’t can’t play hockey and a desire for the rink to be greater.

While discussing the rink, Commissioner Mary Alsager wondered if the city could get used skates from Central Michigan University, which in the past rented out ice skates.

However, Biscorner said the city was considering partnering with CMU, but it was not feasible due to staffing issues.

Commissioner Liz Busch suggested the possibility of Mt. Pleasant Parks and Recreation hosting a winter sports equipment swap day, while Commissioner Maureen Eke wondered if the city could do more to raise awareness of the existence of the ice rink.

Alsager suggested a sign at the entrance to Island Park to inform residents about the rink.

The opening of the rink depends on the weather and it will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, depending on ice conditions.

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