Construction delays trip up ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One of Grand Rapids’ favorite winter traditions is on hold and may be lost all together this year.

City officials say due to the construction delays at Rosa Parks Circle, the ice rink will likely not be installed this winter.

Construction to fix up the downtown gathering space started in May. Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt said the plan was to have the renovations done in time for winter, but supply chain backups pushed back the timeline.

A chain-link fence keeps people away from Ecliptic at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids while renovations are underway. (Nov. 15, 2021)

The problem is that the artist and architect of the space Maya Lin requested a specific granite for the amphitheater seating that only comes from one supplier in California.

“Just like everybody, these people are having trouble finding workers to extract that granite and then workers to truck that granite,” Marquardt said.

The good news is that the granite is on the way. The city says it will be arriving in small shipments over the next few weeks.

“We should begin to start seeing those trucks rolling in soon and that granite getting installed,” Marquardt said.

That means skating could return in February.

Alternatives like a portable outdoor ice rink or synthetic ice won’t make it in time for Christmas. The city is looking for other ideas.

“We’re exploring all the options. We are excited to share what they are once we identify what they may be,” said Marquardt. 

The city also offers other winter activities like sled rentals at Mulick Park and Plaster Creek Park, and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking at Indian Trails Golf Course.

The city will still hold its holiday tree lighting at Rosa Parks Circle on Dec. 3.

The ice rink is among three water features at Maya Lin’s Ecliptic, the art installation that defines Rosa Parks Circle; the other two are a mist fountain and table of flowing water. Lin also designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C.

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