Sharpen Your Skates for the New Ice Rink and Pavilion Coming to Winona Lake
This community-centered ice rink should be at the top of next year’s winter bucket list.
Driving into Winona Lake, Indiana, during the winter season is a unique experience. Independently-owned shops line the snowy streets, buildings steeped in history invite newcomers to explore, and a stunning view of the frozen Winona Lake tops it all off. But the most exciting part of a visit to this wintery town is the coming ice rink and pavilion that will quickly turn into a staple of fun and gathering for the entire community.
The community of Kosciusko County has been dreaming of an ice rink for years. Now that dream is being turned into a reality. In 2019, the K21 Health Foundation approached the Village at Winona about starting the project, which is projected to cost around 6.5 million. K21 promised a 1.5 million grant to the construction of the rink, which brought the project to life.
“K21 Health Foundation has had a desire to see ice skating available in our community for 15 years,” says Rich Haddad, president and CEO of the company. “We believe that the most important thing in the future of our community is that people have every opportunity to live a healthy life and be active year-round.”
Construction of the rink will use a build, operate, transfer (BOT) agreement, starting with a new company created exclusively for this project, called WL Ice LLC. This company will construct the rink and then ownership will be transferred to the town of Winona Lake. Further fundraising for the rink will be organized by the town.
As papers are signed and connections across the community are formed for the purpose of this project, the builders set their hopes on breaking ground in the first quarter of 2021. The rink and pavilion are projected to be ready and open to the public for next year’s winter.
The rink will be centrally located in the community, and visible from almost anywhere in the village. It will be available for open skating, renting, and other activities between November and early March, and the pavilion will be open all year for seasonal activities. As a hub for gathering, this will be a place for Winona Lake and Warsaw residents, visitors from surrounding communities and beyond, and Grace College students.
“I’m excited to have something fun to do in the winter time!” says Sarah Stephens, a Grace College student, “I can’t wait for the rink to open.”
The pavilion will be grounded in historical roots. In the early twentieth century, during the Golden Age of Winona Lake, evangelist Billy Sunday made the town of Winona Lake his home. The Billy Sunday tabernacle stood for 72 years and was beloved by the community. Although the tabernacle is no longer there, it is on this land that the rink and pavilion will be built. In honor of Sunday’s impact on Winona Lake, the pavilion will be designed to resemble the tabernacle that once stood in its place.
“We’re always trying to tie everything back to the historical roots of our community,” says Nick Hauck, director of the Village at Winona. “The opportunity this pavilion brings to the community is limitless.”
Hauck explained that the village is at its slowest during the winter, and the ice rink will hopefully bring in more visitors, which will help support the independent shops and restaurants in the community, as well as open up more job opportunities in the area. The pavilion will be a venue for music festivals and concerts, community holiday celebrations, and even weddings.
“We believe that an ice rink facility will not only bring a real solution to winter activity, but also improve the culture of wanting to live a healthy life,” says Rich Haddad.
Wherever you are in northeast Indiana, put the coming Winona Lake ice rink and pavilion at the top of your winter bucket list for next year. It’s the perfect way to stay healthy and have fun in a community-centered winter village.