Nearly 13,000 people hit the ice last winter for the second year of Kent Skates, presented by AMETEK, from November through February.

The free outdoor ice rink—located on a section of East Erie Street between the PARTA parking deck and the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center—is a key initiative between Kent State and Kent partners to create a more vibrant place to live, work and play.

Amy Mucha, MED ’16, owner of Daisy Pops and family
Amy Mucha, MEd ’16, owner of Daisy Pops, says her family enjoys the ice rink her business helps sponsor.

The rink was created through a partnership among the city of Kent, Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Kent and Kent State University. Local businesses and the Destination Kent Convention and Visitors Bureau are also sponsors, and University Facilities Management staff keep the rink open and operating during the season.

“This is a true example of what is possible when so many people come together focused on a community asset,” says Dana Lawless-Andric, PhD, Kent State University’s associate vice president of University Outreach and Engagement.

After a slide around the rink, visitors can warm up in Kent’s shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, galleries and many local events.

“A vibrant and healthy downtown benefits everyone, and Kent Skates has played an important—and fun—role in strengthening our local economy and sense of community,” says Michelle M. Hartman, interim executive director for the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce.

One of the rink’s enthusiastic sponsors—and users—was Amy Mucha, MEd ’16, owner and chief artist of Daisy Pops, a cake pop bakery that opened a shop in downtown Kent this April. “I cannot tell you how much our family loved it this winter,” she says. “And  I saw so many of my non-Kent friends coming into town to try it out as well.”

—Phil Soencksen, BS ’89