TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A group of Shawnee County community members are pushing to bring an indoor ice rink to Topeka.
The Facebook group called “Shawnee County Ice Rink” has nearly 900 members.
The group started an open petition to advocate for the ice rink back in December. The petition now has over 1,000 signatures of people who want easy access to ice skating, without driving out of town.
Shawnee County Parks and Recreation is in the process of planning for a new family park which will be located at 21st and Urish Road. The members in the Facebook group are hoping to make an indoor ice skating rink part of the blueprints.
“I love to teach kids how to skate,” Michael Eichten, a local ice skating instructor, said. “And years ago I taught a number of kids to skate that nearly made it to the collegiate level or beyond.”
The kids and adults who want to skate in Topeka currently have to drive to surrounding cities to have the opportunity to step on the ice.
“We drive about an hour and ten minutes one way three to four days a week for him to continue to try to excel,” Jason Simonsen, a hockey coach, said.
Simonsen’s nephew is just one example of someone who would use the rink alongside his teammates multiple days a week.
“They would like to come and help coach here. They want to be involved with the younger kids. My nephew likes helping the little kids learn to skate,” Simonsen said.
Supporters like Simonsen say the sport would be able to flourish easier and allow others to fall in love with it, if they had a rink in the area.
Shawnee County Parks and Recreation will hold a virtual board meeting on Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss details of the family park.