For the second year, The Frozen Sandlot ice skating rink opened at Kokomo Municipal Stadium and drew in thousands of skaters.
Despite unseasonably warm, wet weather that caused the rink to close four days, total attendance for the season – which started on Nov. 26 and ended Jan. 5 – was more than 7,600. Attendance last year was 11,721. The rink was run by Bridges Outreach, a nonprofit that tutors and mentors at-risk youth, and proceeds benefit the nonprofit.
“Big thank you to city of Kokomo for hosting the Frozen Sandlot and providing this great winter experience,” said Travis Taflinger, a director at Bridges Outreach. “Thanks to the city of Kokomo, Frozen Sandlot had another successful year.”
Taflinger estimated Bridges Outreach will profit around $25,000 this season.
In addition to the rink being a fund raiser for Bridges, it also employs Bridges students, giving them on-the-job experience and training. This season, Bridges trained and employed 35 staff members, 20 of whom were students or staff at Bridges, and around 25 percent of the employees used Frozen Sandlot as their first job.
“We love setting a positive culture and providing valuable experience — interviews, hiring, training, etc. — for students in work-based learning. Our staff received so many positive reviews from customers and were able to learn how to be professional through adversity,” said Taflinger.
New this year, a heated skate barn was added. The area housed the skates and kept the employees warm while also providing a warm, dry place for customers to change into their skates. This year, Bridges also was in charge of the concession stand, and Taflinger said he and his employees simplified the menu and “kept prices really low.”
The season was extra special for two couples, as the Frozen Sandlot had two proposals this year.
Taflinger said the rink also drew in many large groups and parties. It played host to 18 groups from locals churches, schools, and businesses and hosted 15 birthday parties.
Throughout the season, 1,600 cups of hot chocolate were sold. The biggest days were Dec. 21, Jan. 1, and Jan. 5.
Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore said the amenity continues to be a popular winter activity for the community.
“It not only provides a chance for fun outdoor activities for folks, but it has been a good use of the stadium in the off-season. Anytime we can encourage physical activities while making good use of our facilities it is a win for the city,” Moore said.