Red Arrow Park could become roller skating rink during the off-season

NOW: Red Arrow Park could become roller skating rink during the off-season

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Most people know Milwaukee's Red Arrow Park for its ice skating during the winter.

On Tuesday, March 15, members of the Milwaukee County Parks, Energy and Environment committee voted unanimously to approve a resolution to use the rink for roller skating during the off-season.

"The ice skating rink does a phenomenal job. It's a great family-friendly activity during the winter -- all too long winter -- but during the other months of the year, it simply sits idle," Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Ryan Clancy said.

Terrence Clarke and Ellen Fine, co-owners of Roll Train Roller Fitness & Store, embrace the change at the park. For many years, they've been asking local leaders to consider this and say their own research backs the proposal.

"There are so many skaters in the community that are supporting this and that have always wanted to do it but again, everybody was told no," Clarke said.

Milwaukee County Parks Department officials say they want to protect the $1 million system of concrete, coils and compressors, and ensure no damage to the ice sheets during the winter.

"Any stains, surface contamination and damage, whether it be adhesives or materials on the concrete, could impact the building of the ice sheets on the rink. So we just want to be very careful with protecting this existing asset," said Peter Bratt, director for skilled trades for the Milwaukee County Parks Department.

"What we heard was that the roller skating may damage the rink, however we did some digging and we learned that Red Arrow Park actually hosted roller skating in 2009," Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson said.

Parks officials are looking into how other places, like Philadelphia and New York City, manage their outdoor rinks.

The resolution heads to the full county board next week.

"All's well that ends well that they're listening but it would have been nice to be a leader," Fine said.

If approved, the parks department must provide a report to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors by May.

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