Lengthy-awaited McMorran ice rink entering into. The place else are you able to skate outdoor?


As winter deepens and temperatures drop, several outdoor ice skating rinks are expected to open in local communities soon.

Among the most anticipated, in downtown Port Huron, a long-awaited seasonal centerpiece is about to open at McMorran Plaza, where an ice rink will feature in Main Street’s redesigned gathering and entertainment area.

As of last week, some of the equipment was already in place, but officials said they were still in limbo until the final pieces arrived.

“We’re waiting for some sensors for (an) ice compressor. Our goal is not to have this Friday, but (January 6),” McMorran manager Rob Churchill said on Thursday. “I’m hoping we’ll have that gear by Monday or Tuesday next week and we should be able to open it – depending on the weather of course.”

Several other ice rinks, including those in Port Huron, Goodells County Park, Marine City, Marysville and St. Clair, are also expected to be used by local residents later in January.

Here are the highlights:

Port of Huron

An existing community rink will be established at Lincoln Park on the south end of Port Huron, where local crews began work in mid-December.

The rink was set up a few years ago with a boost from Blue Water Recovery and Outreach. And like many local ice rinks, it requires an outdoor freeze.

City Manager James Freed said a cooling system at McMorran Plaza is what sets the new rink apart.

“We can operate in any weather,” he says.

Still, Churchill said the new rink could have a difficult start in the early days of 2023 with expected rainfall and warmer high temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.

“I don’t need to have it where it’s actually freezing because of the weather,” Churchill said. “What worries me a little bit over the next week or so is that we’re supposed to get a lot of rain and rain will definitely affect that because even though you have chilling, rain is going to melt the ice anyway.”

Residents can bring their own skates or rent them through McMorran’s Pro Shop in the main arena. ID is required to rent skates.

Churchill said opening hours for the Plaza rink will likely be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 12pm to 8pm, Thursday and Friday from 12pm to 10pm, Saturday from 1pm to 10pm and 1pm to 8pm. Sunday.

More information will be shared via McMorran Place and Port Huron Parks and Recreation social media.

Officials said it was exciting to bring the final leisure piece to the pitch this winter.

“We continued to play bands at Casey’s Bar on the Plaza on Fridays and Saturdays all winter,” Churchill said of Casey’s on the Plaza. “But I really wanted to do something outside as well. This will give that opportunity. We’ll find some people to do outside (and) some activities for kids.”

Devon Birtles and Jacob Moran, then both 17, of Port Huron, skate together at Goodells County Park on Wednesday February 17, 2016.


St. Clair County Parks and Recreation Director Dennis Delor said Goodells County Park seasonally has a large covered outdoor rink in its arena building for special events.

That winter, they hoped to have it operational by mid-January. As of Friday, no official announcement of an opening date had been made.

Delor said the weather-dependent rink is popular with active users, including during open skating hours, and those looking to play hockey. The rink is part of an ongoing drive for year-round recreation in county parks.

The arena is located near the community center lobby, which is available for skaters to use as a warm-up and restroom.

“It’s also lit, which is nice,” Delor said. “The advantage of that (is) when it gets dark there (in the arena) there are lights. We’re trying to keep people updated on the conditions.”

Delor expects the department to announce more information in early 2023.

For more information or weather conditions related to park activities, call 810-989-6960 or visit County Parks and Rec on Facebook.

Other ice rinks

In St. Clair, Recreation Director Trice Hawkins said the city’s outdoor ice rink already exists in Greig Park.

She said a plank-based portable ice rink originally purchased for downtown use before moving to the city. Now they are waiting for cold temperatures to freeze it.

“It’s a smaller rink,” Hawkins said. “We had a natural ice rink on Brown Street but there is a development going on there. So this is no longer available to us. It was always private property, but we were allowed to use it. So we are working on what the future plans are so we can have some ice rinks in the city.”

In Marine City, where an ice rink first opened in Nautical Mile Park a few years ago, there is an ice rink at 300 Broadway and at Old City Hall — the same location as last year.

Laura Merchant, president of the Marine City Area Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday that “care must be taken in this warm weather because it’s melting.”

The chamber was initially involved in raising funds that helped open the rink.

With 50-degree highs statewide this week, officials expect the rink to freeze again later in January — and especially ahead of the chamber’s Fire, Ice & Spice event, which Merchant on Feb. 11 calls “a winter carnival of sorts.” ‘ captioned a chili cookoff and skater.

In Marysville, an ice rink is traditionally established at 14th Street and Huron Boulevard across from Marysville High School. City Manager Randy Fernandez the rink is popular, including with some Silver Stick teams and out-of-town visitors.

The city also hadn’t made any formal announcements about opening the rink next month. Typically, Fernandez said, it comes with lights, plenty of parking, and potential power hookups if a food truck comes in.

“There are several ponds. So people can play hockey there, but then they don’t bother people who are just trying to skate,” he said. “…It’s all weather dependent. And I heard that from (Public Works Director) Barry Kreiner, the ground has to freeze first and then develop frost. Then our DPW can put the water on it and maintain it. So right now it can’t happen. It’s just too warm.”

Contact Jackie Smith at 810-989-6270 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.