TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – After being closed down for a number of years, the Wigwam Skating Rink in Terre Haute – under a new partnership – plans to have a ‘soft opening’ Friday to get people excited about new changes.
Rink leadership will host a ‘free skate’ weekend in an effort to introduce itself to the community and talk about the rink’s under construction but upcoming changes. Despite, a tough battle to stay in business, the Wigwam Skating Rink has been a family owned in the Wabash Valley for at least 50 years.
New rink leadership wasn’t readily willing to discuss any major details ahead of the rink’s grand opening later in 2014, but said some former rink family members will still have an interest in the Wigwam.
The Wigwam, which sits on North Smith Road in Terre Haute, is located just north of a several major businesses and retail hub, North Plaza Shopping Center. It’s because of the northside economic environment that has new operator Robert Kramer excited to get the rink open.
“I think it’s an important asset especially for the community on the north end. There’s a lot of action going on in the south end of town, a lot of economic development. This brings something back to the North end of Terre Haute. It also brings back an iconic building for Terre Haute. It brings it back to life. I believe there’s still a product and a service here, that can be taken care of for the people in this community, and we’re going to be able to offer that product and service,” said Robert Kramer, New Wigwam Operator.
Much of the rink is under renovation now. Crews spent Friday working on electrical and tying up some loose ends for a soft opening, free skate weekend. Operators noted things like a new sound system and LED lights were already installed and ready to use. In the kitchen/dining area, a wall had been removed that once separated skate seating from the food bar.
The bathrooms were also going to be under construction to become A.D.A compliant, and the old black rail encircling the rink would eventually need to be removed, noted Kramer.
Crews also worked Friday to add paint to some faded areas in the rink. At the skate rental desk, several pairs of new skates were ready to be borrowed for would-be skaters.
Despite all of the changes, one thing that would stand the test of time and remain the same would be the iconic wooden skating floor. Kramer estimated the original wood floor was valued around “$200,000.”
When asked what it takes, to keep something that was popular in the 70s and 80s exciting and new in 2014, Kramer said, “in today’s society you have to be more innovative than years ago.” Kramer hopes to make the Wigwam a family friendly establishment and host corporate events.
Kramer understands that he is a new face in the Wabash Valley and wanted to welcome everyone to the old rink. To do so, the rink will host a free skate weekend.
Free Skate Weekend:
In order to get in for free skaters must say the following statement at the door: “Wigwam is back.”
Friday: 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Saturday: 1:00 PM -4:00 PM
Sunday: 2:00 PM 4:30 PM