By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Aug 22, 2022 at 1:01 PM

The Milwaukee roller skate community will host a rally and roller skating party at Red Arrow Park, 920 N. Water St., on Saturday, Aug. 27.  The free, family friendly event supports the effort to offer year-round skating opportunities via ice skating in the winter and roller skating in the spring, summer and fall.

“Red Arrow Park is vacant for 75 percent of the year, whenever the weather can’t support ice skating,” said Terrence Clarke, coordinator of the Roller Skate at Red Arrow Park advocacy group. “We’re simply asking to use a public county park as intended, as stated by the manufacturer of the rink, without wasting taxpayer dollars on unnecessary infrastructure.”

The roller skating rally starts at 1 p.m. at Red Arrow Park and the free, open skating begins at 2 p.m. on the blacktopped area across the street from the Milwaukee Public Market, 400 N. Water St. Skaters must bring their own skates. Chicago’s DJ Bam will play live music during the event.

Roller Skate at Red Arrow Park is a Milwaukee-based advocacy group that has worked since 2014 to allow the park to be used year-round by roller skaters when not covered in ice. 

Commercial Refrigeration Systems, the company that built and installed the Red Arrow Park Ice Skating Rink, has confirmed that the structure of the rink would support roller skating. Other rinks across the United States have done this for years, including the Guidant John Rose Oval in Roseville, Minn.; Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.; St. Louis Park Outdoor Recreation Center in St. Louis Park, Minn.; and the Plaza at Gateway Park in Neenah, Wis.

In May, Milwaukee County Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution authored by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and Supervisor Ryan Clancy to require Milwaukee County Parks to present a plan for use of Red Arrow Park as a roller skating rink.  

In June, the plan presented by Milwaukee County Parks’ citied the need for additional funding and time, partly to lay a protective covering over the rink’s concrete base and to install temporary framing around the rink, despite the advocacy group’s evidence from the manufacturer that no protective base over the concrete was needed to preserve the rink’s cooling system.  

Chairwoman Nicholson then presented a plan to funnel $175,000 toward a pilot program for the rink.  The County Executive vetoed that plan in July, citing budgetary concerns.

Roller Skate at Red Arrow Park maintains the funding is not needed and the area should be used for roller skating as is, with programming provided by the community.

Read more about the effort to bring roller skating to Downtown Milwaukee here.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.