Skate rink with a reason

Photo courtesy Rooftop Rink

April Knipp

This winter, Omaha’s Midtown neighborhood will add an activity to its ever-growing list of community events. On Dec. 2, the Rooftop Rink at Midtown Crossing will open to the public. The rink will be open Thursday and Friday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m.

The top level of the parking garage located next to Wohlner’s Neighborhood Grocery & Deli at 32nd and Dodge Street will be transformed into a 60-by-80 all-weather synthetic ice skating rink. There will also be fire elements, music and food vendors available.

A $5 donation is good for admission into the rink, which includes skate rental. One-hundred percent of proceeds will go directly to the Salvation Army.

“It’s really a feel-good opportunity,” said Molly Skold, Midtown Crossing’s vice-president of marketing and communications. “It’s a fun date night, a fun family event, a fun event for just about anybody in town and visitors alike. All can come and enjoy this innovative, fun roof-top rink and enjoy the lights of the season, while giving back at the same time.”

Not only does the Salvation Army assist residents in Omaha, it also serves nearly 30 million Americans each year. Assistance to low-income families, emergency disaster service, recovery assistance and youth programs are only a few ways the nonprofit helps those in need.

UNO student Christian Vongdara had not heard about the rooftop rink, but the location and purpose excited him.

I’d be interested in checking it out,” Vongdara said. “It’s in a better spot than inside a dome, so you can see all the scenery. It’s a lot cooler than a typical ice rink. The fact that all proceeds are going to charity makes it all the better.”

The rooftop rink also offers volunteer opportu-nities to the public. Rink admission attendants, skate guards and skate rental attendants are all needed. Skold said volunteers are also needed to help visitors with parking, and guiding them to entrances and exits.

Skold feels that the location of the rooftop rink ads even more appeal and charm to the event.

“It’s right in the center, it’s the urban core of the city,” Skold said. “You’re so close to everything, without having a major infringement of driving to a location. It’s close to so many neighbor-hoods and shopping centers and so forth.”

Rooftop bars, restaurants and pools have become increasingly popular across the country and Omaha is no exception.

“We felt this was a great opportunity to bring a treasured activity that Omahans would love and put it in a creative area,” Skold said. “The fact that it’s up on top of the roof allows us to have a flat service, a great view, a fun place to be and something that is creative and different that not a lot of people have done yet in this area.”

Monday through Wednesday, the rink will be available for private parties. Skold said that the rink is available to professionals, neighborhood groups, nonprofits or family events. Proceeds from these private events will also go to the Sal-vation Army.

“The biggest thing for us is the ability to give back,” Skold said. “I think that’s the most inspi-rational part of this project. We are very hon-ored to be a part of it. We are honored we are working with the Salvation Army. We are really excited to open the rink up Dec. 2.”

For more information on volunteering or host-ing a private gathering, visit