On Jan. 2, UM-Flint reopened the historic Flint ice rink downtown. Chancellor Susan Borrego, along with Susan Davis, Vice President of Kettering University, and Becky Foerster, Executive Director at The Hagerman Foundation, cut the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony.
UM-Flint partnered with Kettering University and the Hagerman Foundation to fund the reopening of the rink. Another partner in this effort was the Downtown Development Authority, which assisted with the installation, and will continue to provide support by taking care of ice maintenance and snow removal.
“As we continue to find ways to enhance campus, opening this rink is a simple way to have a dramatic impact. We know as a university that we must be an academically excellent institution and also offer a thriving, diverse student experience. As an anchor institution in downtown Flint, our campus success and our community success are inherently tied to one another,” Borrego said.
The Ice rink was first opened in 1985 as part of the Water Street Pavilion, but was closed in 1990, when it turned into a mostly vacant property. Right after, UM-Flint took ownership of the Pavilion, but decided to leave the ice rink closed due to the possibility of it being a liability.
Although talk of re-opening the ice-rink started when Chancellor Borrego assumed office in 2014, the formal planning did not begin until the Fall of 2015.
According to UM-Flint News, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver lauded the effort. “This is a great asset to our community. It offers families a chance to have fun and show off all the great things our city has to offer,” Weaver told UM-Flint News.
The report released by UM-Flint News included a detailed description of the IceMat system that is being used for the rink. According to this concept, a series of continuous loops spaced together tightly and laid out on the concrete surface, thereby filling the entire rink surface area. To keep the IceMat frozen, a cooling unit of 80-tonnes chill an ethylene-glycol solution to sub-freezing temperature that are pumped through tubes of half-inch diameter.
“Several community members and organizations were eager to see the ice rink bring life into the downtown area,” said Nakshidil Sadien, a senior political science major and former Student Government President.
The rink is open until March to the community for free with limited rental skates available for $3 for those who don’t own a pair, thanks to Crystal Fieldhouse in Burton. The timings had to be extended after only a couple weeks of opening due to popular demand.
Currently, the Ice Rink is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m., and on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. Although rental skates are available for $3, visitors are encouraged to bring their own skates.