By: Benjamin J. Gohs, Associate Editor
Boyne City Main Street officials are always looking to enhance the aesthetics and activities, and a winter ice rink may be the next item on their list.
According to Boyne City Main Street Executive Director Hugh Conklin, the main street board is in the early phases of looking into the feasibility of introducing an ice rink to Sunset Park behind the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce building.
“There were discussions last year and there has been a lot of interest in doing that,” Conklin said. “It just kind of came up late last year and we weren’t able to pull it off, so we’re sort of exploring that again.”
Conklin said it is too early to tell how large the rink would be and exactly what kind of amenities would be included.
“It would probably require moving the ice pole to a different location,” he said. “It would be a recreational rink and not a hockey rink or anything like that.”
Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Director Jim Baumann said an ice rink in the middle of town will only enhance Boyne City. “I just think it’s one more fun thing people coming downtown can do,” he said. “A lot of people downtown think it’s a great idea and I think it’s worth trying.”
The Main Street Design Committee met Sept. 12, to discuss potential winter uses of Sunset Park in Downtown Boyne City. “The design committee would, in the long run, like to see the views from and across Sunset Park preserved while adding additional uses and amenities to market he park more inviting,” Stated Shannon McMaster, Assistant Planner and Zoning Administrator for Boyne City, in a Sept. 15, memo to the Boyne City Parks and Recreation Commission. “In the short-term, the design committee suggests consideration of an ice skating rink located in the park behind the chamber of commerce building.”
An alternate location for the rink at the end of Water Street, behind the small tree, was also discussed The design committee, McMaster stated, gravitated toward the location in the park because of its visibility, and its feeling that the park location is more like a downtown spot than the spit of land at the end of Water Street does.
Also, the alternate location is smaller, and will require coordination with Glen Catt, creator of the One Water Street development. A possible relocation for the ice pole is on the spit of the land at the end of Water Street.
Also discussed was a possible location for a community Christmas tree mounted in a manhole on the north side of the end of Water Street. A possible alternate location is noted at about mid-block. “Details are sketchy right now,” Conklin said. “We’re trying to figure out hours and how to maintain it properly and this would be something we would try to generate funds to pay for.” Conklin added that the parks and recreation committee were supportive of the idea.
“It would be just another winter activity, but it will all depend on interest,” he said. “I think it would create a real great atmosphere – we’re a winter community and it gives people something to do.”
Conklin said the rink wouldn’t likely offer skate rentals and would not be intended to compete with the skating area offered at Avalanche Mountain.
“It would just be a nice traditional rink in the heart of downtown,” he said.