The City of Waukee has entered into a partnership with the Iowa Wild and Wells Fargo arena in order to bring an outdoor ice rink to the local community.
“It’s part of our ongoing program to put these portable rink systems up around the Des Moines area. We partnered with Wells Fargo on this and this is our fifth rink we put up,” Iowa Wild President and Alternative Governor Todd Frederickson said, “Our goal is to get a rink system that is a safe environment in a town. It’s about getting people outdoors and active in the winter and hopefully it will translate to more people becoming more familiar with the game, the sport, and the Iowa Wild.”
Although the rink was donated by the two local organizations, the City is responsible for the set up and maintenance of the ice rink throughout the winter season. This includes clearing the numerous amounts of snow that have accumulated throughout the past couple of months.
“The cold temperatures have made it easier to maintain this year. We do our best to keep the ice cleared of snow but actually residents wanting to use the rink have also helped with this,” Waukee Parks and Recreation Director Matt Jermier said.
The ice rink was first located at the Sugar Creek Municipal Golf Course parking lot last year.
“The rink was moved to Centennial Park because it is more centrally located and we felt being closer to the schools would bring more awareness to the new amenity,” Jermier said.
Jermier notes that relocating the rink was not only an easy transition but that the city has also seen an increase in usage since moving it to the park. In addition, the idea of bringing an outdoor ice rink to the community has been positively received overall and contained limited restrictions and requirements.
“Anytime we’ve announced one of these rinks it’s been a huge hit on social media for the local town’s parks and rec. We just hear the feedback and see the number of people out skating from the photos the city takes and the pictures posted on social media,” Frederickson said.
Residents wishing to skate should take particular notice of the signs placed around the rink, especially as the temperatures get warmer and melting and refreezing take place. Jermier notes that the parks and recreation department will monitor the thickness of the ice as temperatures increase in order make sure that skating on the rink remains safe.
“It is a little tough because a lot depends on how cold temperatures get at night. The long term forecast will ultimately determine whether we just close it temporarily or whether it’s time to take it down for the year,” Jermier said.
The ice rink is currently open to the public from dawn to dusk and will remain at Centennial Park until the temperatures get so warm that the thickness of the ice is not safe to be on.
In addition, residents wishing to participate in outdoor winter activities can visit the sledding hill at Warrior Park. This sledding hill was engineered back in 2003 as a use at your own risk facility and was designed for people of all ages.
“The sledding hill has been extremely popular this year. Because of the design of the sledding hill, you can determine how fast or how far you want to go by walking further up the hill,” Jermier said.
Going forward, the City of Waukee plans to continue bringing the ice rink to the Waukee area. At the end of the season, the City will also evaluate whether any additional winter amenities would benefit the Waukee community.
“Each year we evaluate whether or not there is a need to add an additional ice rink. At this time, the one rink seems to be sufficient but the interest continues to grow each year,” Jermier said.