Community restores Iron River ice rink

The Iron River Elementary School PTO is collecting donated skates for children to use at the rink.

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Young volunteers paint the walls at a public ice rink in Iron River Aug. 21-22, 2021. Funded by local businesses and spearheaded by the Iron River Elementary School PTO, the group restored the ice rink, which has been shuttered for 10 years. (Courtesy / Kristen Gilmer)

More than 20 volunteers joined forces to bring a shuttered community ice rink near Iron River Elementary School back to usable condition Aug. 21-22.

The rink boards were repainted, the old penalty box was converted into a storage closet and the team benches were enclosed to make warming houses. Electricity was restored to the overhead field lights for nighttime skating and outlets were added to the warming house.

The rink, located at Iron River Memorial Park, shut down about 10 years ago, according to Iron River Elementary School PTO Secretary Kristen Gilmer. It was historically maintained by a local parent group, she said, but after their children grew up and moved on there was no one to maintain it.

Vandals set fire to a nearby structure, as well, which helped prompt the shutdown. It was the only public skating rink in town, Gilmer said.

With help from the community, the PTO spearheaded the rink restoration project.


“Iron River PTO is passionate about the kids and our community. Why have something just sitting there when it can be useful and fun for families? We are happy with the continued support that we are shown from businesses and community members,” said Nicole Lester, group treasurer.

The project was funded with donations from Peterson’s Greenhouse, Silver Maple Construction, The Fig Leaf Thrift Store, Iron River Recycling Center and private contributions.

The Iron River Elementary PTO continues to collect ice skates to have on hand for the public to borrow on the honor system while using the ice rink.

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Volunteers repair and paint structures at the public skating rink in Iron River Aug. 21-22, 2021. The restoration efforts included painting, restoring electricity to the field lights, carpentry work and more. Contributed / Kristen Gilmer

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A volunteer paints the fence around the public skating rink in Iron River during restoration efforts Aug. 21-22, 2021. Contributed / Kristen Gilmer

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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