MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — While many communities have shut down their ice rinks because of unusually mild winter temperatures, one city is opening its rink to skaters.
Officials of Middleville believe their community is the only one in West Michigan to have a synthetic ice rink, which is not weather dependent.
Instead of ice, the rink is made of a plastic polymer that’s infused with an enhancer, allowing regular ice skates to glide more easily across its surface.
Once installed, DDA Coordinator Michael Schmidt said Middleville’s synthetic ice will be about a half-inch thick and built like a jigsaw puzzle.
Public Works employees began installing the new 24-foot by 72-foot rink under a pavilion off East Main and Railroad streets around noon on Monday. Schmidt expected the project to be complete by the end of the day.
Schmidt told 24 Hour News 8 the rink could welcome its first skaters as soon as this weekend; the city plans to officially open the site during its Holly Trolley Christmas event Dec. 21, which runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Visitors will need to bring their own skates; the city hopes to take possession of a nearby building and transform it into a skate rental facility in the future.
The rink’s $18,000 price tag is being picked up by the DDA. Schmidt said that although the synthetic rink is a couple thousand dollars more than regular ice, the surface has a 10-year warranty and officials expect to save money on upkeep.
City officials also hope the new feature will draw thousands of people downtown, benefiting businesses.
Schmidt said the rink will also be open longer than traditional ice skating spots, likely welcoming ice-skaters up until April 1. He said the city is also considering reopening the rink for a short period of time in July.