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Oshkosh set to open new outdoor ice skating rink in Roe Park

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 4:26 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Lace up your skates, it’s almost time to hit the ice. Oshkosh is preparing to open a new ice skating rink that will be free to the public this winter.

Roe Park, in the shadows of the Downtown Oshkosh YMCA, is home to the city’s newest ice skating rink. The rink, a collaboration of public and private entities, will provide an outdoor escape for people looking to have some fun.

“Just having this rink here in our community is just going to be a huge bonus, give people some outdoor activities to do,” says Kabel Helmbrecht, Director of Recreation for the Oshkosh Area School District.

And while it looks like the rink is ready to go, city officials say the ice needs some colder weather before people can skate.

According to Oshkosh Parks Director Ray Maurer, “The closer we get to being hovering around that freezing point, the surface, the conditions on the ice deteriorate so if the top layer is not smooth and it’s melting and you skate on it, you’re actually damaging the surface of the ice.”

The rink remains closed for now, and people are urged to stay off it. But once it opens, anyone can come and use the facility between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. every day. But, the weekends and especially Friday nights are when special activities are planned.

Helmbrecht adds, “It’s going to kick off with a DJ glow party, and we also have some outdoor movies planned, as well as we’re working with some local groups to perhaps do a hockey night.”

In addition to free skating, ice skates provided by Dr. Eric’s Skate Club will be loaned out on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 7 p.m.. The YMCA is looking for volunteers to help with that. “Dr. Eric will be bringing his trailer, so our volunteers will be going in and asking for sizes and distributing the skates to them,” adds Lisa Nething, Family & Special Events Director at the Oshkosh YMCA.

The city hopes to have the rink open by the weekend of January 8, but the warmer weather may push that back. It suggests following Oshkosh Parks on Facebook for the latest rink updates.

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