The city of Ludington recently installed a new synthetic ice rink downtown, right in the middle of James Street Plaza.
The new rink is made out of synthetic ice panels which are basically plastic. When skating, there is slightly more resistance than a real sheet of ice, but it's otherwise similar.
Jennifer Tooman is with the city of Ludington.
“We have tried real ice rinks in the past, where we just flood the area,” she says. “Even though it’s northern Michigan … the temperature isn’t consistent. So, we ended up with a big puddle often.”
The synthetic ice comes in 4x8 foot panels and they interlock like giant puzzle pieces. Except for clearing it off, there's hardly any upkeep required. The ice rink is small — about 800 square feet — but Jennifer Tooman says they have plans to expand it soon.
Synthetic rinks like this are popping up in other communities, too — Ludington got the idea from Monroe, Michigan, and the city of Cadillac also has one.
“This is just another thing for the locals to do, or visitors, if they want to travel to come check it out,” says Tooman.
The rink is expected to be up through March.