Monday, December 18, 2017
Milwaukee Recreation, the Epic Center Community Organization, and various city leaders officially welcomed skaters to the new Burnham Playfield Ice Rink at the grand opening this past weekend. Dozens of neighborhood parents and children joined the ribbon-cutting festivities on Saturday before displaying their skating prowess on the fresh ice.
Ice rinks have been a key part of Milwaukee Recreation's history in the city, particularly at Burnham Playfield. By returning the rink to Burnham for the first time in over three decades - an idea which was several years in the making - Milwaukee Recreation, Epic, and its partners are furthering their commitment to the kids and the community going forward.
"We want to make sure that we are providing for the kids after-school [and] during school... all throughout the year," Epic founder Michael Sengyothinh said.
Establishing another facility for kids during the winter months, particularly in Milwaukee's frigid climate, was crucial for everyone involved in this process. Alderman Robert Donovan reminisced about the days when nearly the entire Burnham Playfield was available for skaters from across the area. He encouraged kids to head outside and stay active, and emphasized the importance of winter sports in Wisconsin.
"This is a great day for the neighborhood," Donovan said. "This is just the beginning. You are going to be seeing a lot of new improvements at Burnham Park in the coming years."
For the families in attendance this weekend, it was important to participate in the grand opening as a show of support. Nishia Cotto, who recently moved to the Burnham neighborhood with her family, is excited to see another local spot for her children.
"[This rink] will unite the community. I'm sure our neighbors will come, and it will increase the amount of family-friendly activities in the area," Cotto said while her two kids whipped around the rink Saturday.
"I thought it was a great addition to the neighborhood. Kids need to [be involved in] things they have never done before."
Soon afterwards, Cotto's son lost his balance on the ice and wiped out into a slightly-melted corner of the rink. He stood up dripping wet, but got back on his skates laughing to himself. Even as temperatures continue to plummet, the Burnham ice rink will bring plenty of warmth to the people of Milwaukee throughout the winter season.
So the next time you are in the area, lace up your skates and hit the ice! We hope to see you out there!
Read here for more information on the ice skating rink and its accompanying pond hockey league. Open ice skating rink hours are Wednesday from 5-8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. (hours differ during the holidays) You can also visit our Facebook pages for the open skate and pond hockey schedule. Call our hotline at 414-475-8192 or text @skatemke to 81010 for weather updates.