‘Kent Skates’ Glides Its Way Into Downtown Kent
The Kent and Kent State University communities can head downtown to go ice skating starting Nov. 20, courtesy of Kent Skates presented by AMETEK.
This special attraction has been created through a partnership between the city of Kent, the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Kent and Kent State.
Kent Skates is a new, outdoor public ice skating rink that will be open from Nov. 20 through Feb. 28, Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A celebration of the rink’s opening will be held on Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m. Kent State President Todd Diacon and Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala will be making remarks surrounding this exciting partnership, and the Marching Golden Flashes will be on site providing some additional entertainment. There will be free giveaways for those in attendance.
Use of the rink is free, including free skate rental. This seasonal rink is located on a section of East Erie Street in downtown Kent between state Route 59 (Haymaker Parkway) and South Depeyster Street, which is between the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA) parking deck and the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center. This section of East Erie Street is closed from Oct. 15 until March 15 to allow for setup and takedown of the rink.
“The idea of an ice rink downtown to encourage visitors and business has been around for a number of years,” said Doug Pearson, Ph.D., associate vice president for facilities planning and operations at Kent State. “Then, unfortunately the pandemic came, so we had to put it off for a year. So this year we got everybody’s interest up, solicited a couple more partners and made it a reality.”
Support for this new experience required the support of many great community partners, including presenting partner AMETEK.
“AMETEK has been part of the Kent community for over 100 years,” shared Matthew French, senior vice president and general manager of AMETEK. “Kent is not only where we work, it’s where many of us live, socialize and raise our families. A vibrant, diverse and growing community is vital for us all, and we are so excited about this inaugural season for Kent Skates, a place where the community will come together. We hope to see it grow into a tradition for many Northeast Ohio families to enjoy for years to come.”
An event like this helps build up the community and serves the purpose of reaching multiple groups from the Kent community, including students and local families.
“We’re always looking as a community to have downtown events we can come in to support and help develop,” said Lawrence Carter, asset manager at the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center. “The ice rink is a perfect draw to bring people downtown – both from the university and from the community – to interact and build positive memories, which hopefully make Kent the place to be for work, play or stay.”
The rink will add to the options that downtown has to offer, and it will connect students to community members in a fun, inclusive environment.
“From the city standpoint on behalf of the mayor and city council, they are just very excited to give the residents an opportunity to be downtown and give them something else to do, but then also have the interaction with the university and the students there,” said Melanie Baker, service director for the city of Kent.
“It will be an added destination and another reason to come downtown for our Kent State and Kent community, as well as for visitors to Kent,” said Michelle Hartman, interim executive director of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce. “We already have a lot of great reasons to come to Kent, but now the fact that we have an outdoor ice rink as part of our downtown mix for all ages to enjoy this winter makes it even more exciting, and the excitement is filtering out quickly.”
The location will feature food and beverages at a snack bar, the Zamboni Café, and visits from food trucks. Plus, the restaurants and shops of downtown Kent are just steps away.
“The downtown restaurants and businesses will benefit from people traveling in for the rink and experiencing all that Kent has to offer,” Carter said.
Also, skating expertise is not required for attendees to benefit from this event, which means just about anyone can take part and find something for them.
“Even if you’re not a skater, it’s still going to be fun to be down here walking around with your friends and family to hang out,” Carter said.
“We want students to attend not only individually but as groups as well,” said Dana Lawless-Andric, Ph.D., associate vice president for university outreach and engagement at Kent State. “What they can expect is an extension of what they feel on campus, that this is their home and that Flashes take care of Flashes, which is felt in the entire city of Kent.”
To learn more about Kent Skates, all the activities happening this holiday season or to schedule your private group activity, please visit www.kent.edu/kentskates for more details.
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