February 10, 2023
Skate by the Sea Coming in March!
By Gregory T. Federspiel
The finishing touches are being put together on a plan to bring ice skating to Masconomo Park. This new, fun event is coming to Manchester as part of our local efforts to promote a vibrant and successful village business district.
The Town participated in the Local Rapid Recovery Program (LRRP) the state created to help communities provide assistance to businesses recovering from pandemic-induced closures. Out of the LRRP arose the idea of developing off-season special events to bring customers to the village businesses. Former Town Planner Sue Brown wrote a successful grant application to the state’s Urban Agenda Grant Program for the development of such an event.
Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator Tiffany Marletta has been working with a group of local merchants and fellow Town staff on the idea of setting up an ice skating rink at Masconomo Park. The rink is comprised of eco-friendly synthetic ice made from plastics that needs no cooling, water resources or a machine to smooth it out after heavy use. The group is aiming to set up the temporary rink for use from March 3-5 and again from March 10-12.
In addition to family skating, music in the bandstand, a sitting area around a fire pit with s’mores, and après skate specials at local shops and restaurants are all being planned. Businesses are getting creative as they think of ways to tie into this new event.
While this is being set up as a “bring your own skates” activity, a skate swap table will be set up at the rink. If you have a vague memory of some long-ago stored skates in your house, you might want to start locating them now to share with others.
Grant funds will be paying for the expenses this year, including the purchase of the needed rink and other equipment. In future years we hope to be able to secure sponsors and well as some revenue generating elements to enable us to hold similar events annually in the winter.
Our local businesses depend on our patronage to be successful. COVID impacts still linger. About half of our shops and restaurants experienced over a 25% decline in business because of COVID. Our local shops add to the vibrancy of the village not to mention the convenience local shopping and dining provides. Local businesses are always generous donors to local causes as well. It is easy to take merchants for granted but your patronage is critical to their success and the success they bring to our community.
Tiffany and her crew have come up with a great idea to provide new family fun and a way to encourage more support of local shops. Stay tuned for further details and get your skates ready!