Ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle postponed due to construction delays

Published on November 15, 2021

Two boys riding fat tire bikes during the winter

City offering alternative winter activities like snowshoeing, free sled rentals and more throughout the season


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The winter ice skating season at Rosa Parks Circle is postponed until further notice. The postponement is due to construction delays with the restoration of Maya Lin’s Ecliptic, a project in partnership between the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., and the Ecliptic at Rosa Parks Circle Conservancy.

Manufacturing delays with the new granite seating rings have pushed the expected completion date to February. The partners are looking into hosting possible alternative skating locations as well as offering a shortened skating season at Rosa Parks Circle when construction has been finished if possible. The parters also sought temporary replacements like a portable outdoor ice rink or synthetic ice solutions and those were not possible due to supply chain and cost factors.

Despite the skating postponement, the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony will still happen at the same location on Monroe Center St. Friday, Dec. 3.

“We know ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle is a treasured winter tradition in Grand Rapids, and we’re hopeful that skating can be offered in some form this year,” Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt said. “In the meantime, our city parks offer many other ways to enjoy the snow, get active, and explore nature.”

Delays with the granite seating are a result of the global supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Ecliptic at Rosa Parks Circle Conservancy is committed to artist Maya Lin’s original vision for the space.

“The granite seating rings will be more durable and require less maintenance than the concrete previously used,” conservancy chair Tripp Frey said. “Ecliptic has seen more visitors than ever imagined when it was first dedicated 20 years ago, and these improvements will ensure it can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., a partner in the restoration project and a sponsor for the skating season at Rosa Parks Circle, once again plans to offer winter activities downtown, including World of Winter from Jan. 7 through March 6. Learn more about World of Winter at HERE.

The City’s Parks and Recreation department is offering winter activities throughout the season at parks and public spaces across Grand Rapids. When enough snow has accumulated, the parks and recreation department will have free sled rentals at two City parks with sledding hills, as well as trails for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and fat tire biking at Indian Trails Golf Course. All City-owned parks and public spaces remain open to the public through the winter season every day from dawn to dusk.

Free sled rentals and winter clothing rentals will be available beginning Dec. 4 at the following parks every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., weather permitting:

  • Mulick Park (1632 Sylvan Ave. SE)
  • Plaster Creek Park (2401 Buchanan Ave. SW)

Additional pop-up sledding events at other hills across the park system will be announced as weather allows. The sled rental program is provided through the City’s Thrive Outside initiative, which aims to create equitable, meaningful outdoor experiences for young people and families in Grand Rapids. Learn more about sledding events HERE.

In addition to sled rentals, the parks and recreation department is once again offering winter activities at Indian Trails Golf Course. The trail system—located at 2776 Kalamazoo Ave. SE—will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for fat tire biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The activities are set to begin Dec. 6, weather permitting.

The clubhouse will be open and staffed for snowshoe rentals and concession sales from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.

The winter recreation trail system features a 3.7-mile fat tire bike loop and a 2-mile cross country ski and snowshoe loop. Use of the trail system for the day is $3. A season pass is $15. Snowshoes will be available to rent when the clubhouse is open and are included with admission. Visitors must bring their own fat tire bikes and cross-country skis. Day and season passes can be purchased online HERE.

All City-owned parks and public spaces remain open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk. The paved multi-use trails at Sixth Street, Canal, and Riverside Parks will be plowed. Information on which gates and parking lots are plowed can be found online HERE.  

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