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Dollar Skate Days return to Viking Ice Arena Jan. 2-4

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published December 26, 2019

 Alayna Smith takes to the ice at last year’s Dollar Skate Days at Hazel Park Ice Arena. The event returns this year Jan. 2-4.

Alayna Smith takes to the ice at last year’s Dollar Skate Days at Hazel Park Ice Arena. The event returns this year Jan. 2-4.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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HAZEL PARK — The new year kicks off with the return of a popular promotion at Viking Ice Arena in Hazel Park.

Dollar Skate Days are set for Jan. 2-4 from noon to 3 p.m. at the ice arena, located at 1555 E.  Woodward Heights Blvd. One can go ice skating for just $1, or skate and enjoy a meal for $3. For a family of three, the cost of skating and a meal is $7, plus another $2 for each additional person.

The promotion is held in cooperation with the Hazel Park Community Coalition in a bid to lure people away from wintertime loneliness and depression, and into some family-friendly fun. It’s now in its third year, having started in 2018. The event drew several hundred guests each year.

“Dollar Skate Days is a great way to get this year’s (Community Coalition) programs and activities off to a fantastic start,” said Brittany Washington, the group’s youth project coordinator.

The coalition has also held Family Fun Fridays during June, where students are provided with a summer activity to get them out of the house and making memories with friends. The coalition also works within Hazel Park Public Schools as well, starting with the Youth Action Board, which is made of students driven to create change in the community.

“We create programs for the school to increase awareness about the dangers of vaping and drunken driving, as well as creating opportunities for stress reduction,” Washington said. “We are looking to bring more engaging programs and activities to the schools and community over the coming years.”

Jared Gajos, the coalition’s previous executive director, explained how the event came to be.

“Dollar Skate Days took root as an event that sought to get students out of the house during winter break and away from temptations of substance abuse and thoughts of loneliness or sadness, and into an atmosphere that allowed them to engage with people of all age groups, creating new friendships and memories along the way,” Gajos said. “The prices were lowered to only a dollar for the three hours of skating because the coalition recognized that almost 30% of Hazel Park was at or below the poverty line.”

Amy Kruppe, the superintendent of Hazel Park Public Schools, said the ice arena is a “gem” in the city.

“Our community works together to make this event happen time and time again,” Kruppe said. “Our students are so fortunate to have a community that gives their time and effort to others.”

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