Free ice skating rink opens for seasonPublished 11:13am Wednesday, February 3, 2010
By SARAH CRABTREE
Niles Daily Star
Once again this year, a favorite winter tradition has been brought back for the people in the Niles community.
The local ice rink at Eastside Park is now open again for the season.
The rink was originally founded in late 1950s and ran until the mid-70s by Elmer Easton.
That man was the inspiration for Larry Allen and Tim Skalla, the people in charge of the ice rink today.
Because of their fond memories at the rink as children, Allen and Skalla wanted to bring it back so others could have those same memories.
“There is nothing for kids around here to do,” Allen said. “We wanted to give them something that they could enjoy.”
Allen and Skalla aren’t the only ones responsible for getting the rink up and running.
The ice rink is a project that many volunteers helped put together five years ago.
Many people throughout the community have donated materials and time to get and keep the rink running.
There is no charge to use the rink and there are skates available to use if needed.
It’ s because of donations from organizations such as Troop 529 Boy Scouts of St. Mary’s, the Key Club at Niles High School, Ice Box of South Bend and the City of Niles utilities department that make running the rink possible.
“It’s nice that people can come out and have a good time for free. Not many things are anymore,” Allen said.
The rink should be open for people to skate this week.
There will also be certain days when hockey players can use the rink.
“The weather hasn’t been cooperating lately so we haven’t had good ice. With all the warm weather we’ve had to start over again,” Allen said.
But with cold winter weather back, the ice rink is back ready to go.
To help with funds Allen and Skalla are having a fundraiser Saturday at the Knight of Columbus Hall on Platt Street in Niles. Everyone is welcome and donations will be accepted. The event starts at 7 p.m.
They are seeking funds to purchase more skates, a new liner and a concrete base for a new warming shed.