Ice Rink Input Session Dec. 22

Planning continues for revamped Sister Bay facility

Plans are underway for a new community centerpiece at the Teresa K. Hilander Ice Rink in Sister Bay, so the Friends of the Teresa K. Hilander Ice Rink organization is seeking ideas from the community during a public-input session at the rink on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 6 pm. 

“As we continue our planning for a new ice rink and warming house, we want to gather ideas big and small from users, parents and youth in our community,” said committee member Myles Dannhausen Jr. “If there are ideas we can incorporate into the plan that will enhance the experience of other user groups and other seasons, we don’t want to miss those opportunities.”

The session will begin with a brief presentation of the committee’s findings and an outline for a new rink and warming house at the present location at the Sister Bay Sports Complex, 2155 Autumn Court in Sister Bay.

After two years of investigating how to make the rink sustainable, the Sister Bay Ad Hoc Ice Rink Committee presented its recommendation to the Sister Bay Village Board last May. That includes installing a new surface with refrigerated coils and a new, flat concrete surface that would allow for ice from mid-November to early March. Today the rink is typically open only for about six weeks if temperatures are consistently cold enough to make ice.

“Since this rink was first created by volunteers in the mid-1990s, it has been entirely weather dependent,” Dannhausen said. “That makes it hard to plan labor, marketing, events and leagues, and for people to participate in winter sports.”

The recommendation also included an enlarged warming house that could host events and provide comfortable, indoor space for kids, parents and families to enjoy while other family members play on the ice. The total cost of the warming house and new ice surface is estimated at $1.8 million to $2.1 million. 

“Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of money and effort to enhance summer amenities in northern Door County,” Dannhausen said. “This would be an investment in improving the lives of local kids and adults and visitors during those months when it’s not so easy to be here.”

The Village of Sister Bay has incorporated funding for ice rink improvements in 2024 as part of its five-year capital-improvement plan, but organizers anticipate the project being completed through a combination of public investment and private fundraising. 

Food and beverages will be available during the input session and ice rink informational event. If the weather cooperates, skating may be available.