Skating Through a Record Year
Ten years ago, the New York Times featured Kent City Manager Dave Ruller and Kent State University’s then-President Lester A. Lefton in an article touting their college town-gown success. Kent State Today is following up on that article, looking at the different ways the town-gown relationship is still flourishing. Read more about the background of the relationship here.
Sunday Feb. 26 is the last day of the 2022-2023 season for the Kent Skates downtown ice rink, presented by AMETEK. Since the rink opened for the season in November, it saw more than 12,800 skaters hit the ice – an increase of about 13% over last year’s attendance.
A true community partnership
"Without question, Kent Skates would not be possible if not for our amazing sponsors and all of the behind-the-scenes folks from University Facilities Management that ensure the rink operates and is open each day,” said Dana Lawless-Andric, associate vice president of University Outreach and Engagement for Kent State University. “This is a true example of what is possible when so many people come together focused on a community asset.”
This sentiment is shared by Michelle M. Hartman, interim executive director for the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce. “Kent Skates has been a wonderful addition to our downtown, and the vision, leadership and shared commitment between Kent State and the city of Kent to make this happen is a true testament of celebrating community spirit,” she said.
A list of Kent Skates partners and sponsors can be found here.
Benefiting business and families
The skating rink has had a positive impact on downtown Kent’s diverse mix of shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, galleries and local events – all just steps away from Kent Skates. They’ve enjoyed increased foot traffic during the cold, winter months. “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,” Hartman said.
One of the members of the community, both a parent and business owner, is Amy Mucha. She’s the owner and chief pop artist of Daisy Pops, a Kent-based online cake pop business that will open a shop downtown soon. Her business is one of the sponsors of Kent Skates. “I cannot tell you how much our family LOVED it this winter," Mucha said. "And I saw so many of my non-Kent friends coming into town to try it out as well. Thank you so much!”
Thawing out for spring
The last days to enjoy Kent Skates this season will be Feb. 22-26. But Doug Pearson, associate vice president for Kent State Facilities Planning and Operations, says everyone can look forward to Kent Skates returning to downtown Kent in November 2023.
If you’d like to be a part of next year’s team of businesses and partners that make Kent Skates possible, please contact Dana Lawless-Andric at firstname.lastname@example.org for early-bird sponsorship opportunities.