Troy Anderson is the fundraising and scheduling coordinator for the Clark Park Coalition. He sat down with us to give us a bit of history about the ice rink and the impact is has on the community.
CAN YOU GIVE US A BIT OF HISTORY OF THE ICE RINK?
“The park used to have a pond in the middle…hockey has existed there as early as the 1940s. The St. Hedwig hockey league started in the 1970s. Sometime in the last ten years, the NHL Diversity fund has paid for the boards, since then it has become a really great community space. Not only is the rink a revenue source from renting ice time, but also keeping a lot of ice time open for the community for free open skating or our hockey program.”
WHAT ARE SOME EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?
“Our winter carnival…this year is our 25th anniversary from when they saved the park from closure. This event has arts and crafts, open skating, petting zoo. We have a college hockey tournament. Throughout the season we offer a free youth hockey programming. We have over 100 kids from Southwest Detroit. Typically hockey is a pretty expensive sport, the only fee was ask them to pay is a $45 USA hockey fee. If they can’t afford that, we offer volunteer opportunities around the park.”
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ICE RINK TO THE COMMUNITY?
“It is a safe, family friendly space for anyone in the community to come and hangout. It is across the street from three of the schools, there are always kids after school. That is a year round thing. We have computers, study areas and tutoring for the kids as well.”
WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE UPKEEP OF THE RINK?
“The staff and volunteers of the Clark Park Coalition. Every year when we put the ice in, we have about 10 to 15 volunteers. Its a long process to put the ice in, from painting to the layering of the ice. Its a huge undertaking, the ice constantly needs to be maintained.We have youth workers from Southwest Detroit who are given part time jobs.”
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF BEING ONE OF THE ONLY RINKS IN THE CITY?
“The community really values it. Not only is it one of the only ice rinks in the city, it is the only fully regulation outdoor ice rinks in Southeastern Michigan. It is a unique place, it is awesome that between our youth hockey and open skating that roughly 20 hours of free ice per week is for the community to use. The ice is in high demand! People want that experience of playing outside, in Detroit. It is a beautiful environment to skate on.”