Visitors to Honor Heights Park’s Garden of Lights will have a reason to get out of their cars this year.
This week, park employees will begin installing a portable, seasonal synthetic ice skating rink.
“It’s all about the quality of life, and this is just another way to elevate the quality of the city,” said Rick Ewing, Park superintendent of Muskogee Parks and Recreation.
Muskogee Parks and Recreation start work early this week on the synthetic ice rink.
The idea of bringing an ice rink to Honor Heights began “a couple of years ago,” Ewing said.
It will be located in Honor Heights Park near the plaza, outside the gift shop. The new rink will open Thanksgiving Day, the same day the “Garden of Lights Festival” opens.
The cost of entry to the skating rink has not been determined, Ewing said.
The total cost of construction for the ice skating rink has not yet been disclosed.
“It is similar to the one in Tahlequah,” Ewing said.
The Tahlequah rink, which is real ice, was purchased from Magic Ice USA cost $130,000, according to the Tahlequah Daily Press.
Synthetic ice is a plastic polymer sheet, first developed in the 1960s. The surface is similar to a dry erase board.
There are benefits to using synthetic ice instead of natural ice. It doesn’t require any type of cooling system.
“Our ice rink will be non-temperature dependent. There is no refrigeration equipment,” Ewing said.
Also, the upkeep of the skating rink will be easier compared to that of rinks with natural ice.
“The maintenance of the rink is much less,” Ewing said.
However, there will be “higher maintenance on the skates as opposed to skates on real ice,” Ewing said.
“I think it will do extremely well,” Ewing said. “I think one of the things we strive for in Parks and Recreation is a healthy lifestyle as well as entertainment. It also allows people to have that special holiday time experience.”