Since it opened, the Andover Community Center ice rink has offered open skating at numerous times throughout the month. The catch was you had to have your own skates.
That is no longer the case. The community center recently purchased 98 figure skating and hockey skates of varying sizes so that young children and adults without skates could join the fun. The community center will rent a pair of figure skates or hockey skates for $3.
The total cost of the skates was $2,800, according to the community center’s facilities manager Erick Sutherland. The YMCA chipped in $1,000, so the city ended up paying $1,800 from its operational funds.
According to Sutherland, the YMCA facilitated a great deal with a company called Total Hockey as well.
In return for its help, the community center offered the YMCA rebates on bringing its summer camp kids down the hall to the community center for some skating.
Cindy Ramseier, the community center’s administrative assistant, said this has been on the radar for years. She expects this will be a hit for birthday parties, field trips and overnight lock-in parties when some of the guests do not own skates.
The community center sends out flyers to local schools regarding available programming. With skate rentals now available, it anticipates there will be more parties that brings in revenue.
This could also be popular for the various Learn to Skate programs the community center was already putting on, Ramseier said. A pair of hockey skates could easily cost more than $50 and if their child does not get interested in skating, parents are out of their investment. With the skate rentals, they have a cheap alternative to see if their child is really interested before buying personal skates.
“There’s a big percentage of kids in Minnesota that have their own skates, but to be fair to those that don’t we felt like it was important to get them in here and make them available,” Sutherland said.
All skates are numbered and noted in the community center’s inventory list. Each time a pair of skates are rented out, this gets written in the log book and there is an ongoing maintenance, for example, disinfectant spray like bowling alleys use for their shoes. The community center will make sure the blades are sharp and dry to prevent rust.
Sutherland said the life span of a pair of skates obviously depends on how much they are used, but he hopes to get six to eight years. He assumes the blades would have to be replaced before the shoes break down.
Fall programs have started
The community center is once again offering various other programs to fill slower times of the day.
From 5 to 9:30 a.m. every weekday, the gymnasium is open to walkers. YMCA members can walk for free. Everyone else can walk for $1 each day or they can pay $50 for a season pass between September and the end of May. Ten laps around the gym total one mile.
Parents and day care providers can bring young children to the gym for Tot Time. All ages are welcome, but the target age is three to six years old. Tot Time open gym is 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and Tuesdays. Tot Time Fitness is 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Children of YMCA members get in free. Others pay $2 per child.
The community center also hosts camps for figure skating, hockey, soccer and basketball.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]