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Ferry Rec Center holds soft opening of new skate rink

T-L Photos/CARRI GRAHAM LEFT: Martins Ferry Mayor John Davies skates with his 12-year-old granddaughter, Natalie Shreve, during the soft opening of the new roller skating rink Thursday at the Martins Ferry Recreation Center. A free skate was offered to all attendees from 2-5 p.m.

MARTINS FERRY — Purple City residents will soon have a new activity to enjoy as city leaders plan to open a roller skating rink inside the Martins Ferry Recreation Center.

A soft opening of the skating rink was held Thursday afternoon, offering residents free admission and free skate rentals. Dozens of children showed up to enjoy skating and listening to music.

Attendees seemed to enjoy the activity, and many could be seen showing off their moves as they skated around the room. Mayor John Davies joined in on the excitement, skating alongside the kids.

Walkquem Cox, 13, of Martins Ferry said he had a fun time hanging out with his friends during the free skate. He said it gave him and his friends something new and different to do in the area.

Although the free skate day was held, Davies said organizers are still in the planning stages of the venture with an official opening day still in the works.

“We don’t have a time frame yet for the actual opening. I just wanted to see how many people would come out, so we can put together a plan to make it feasible and financially good for all our people,” he said, adding that they plan to hold youth, teen and adult dances in the future as well. “It gives the kids another avenue and another option for something to do, and I think it will be good for the winter time.”

The city took over the operation of the Rec Center last year from the Parks and Recreation Department, which still oversees the pool.

Davies said they were simply trying to help lighten the load from the department by taking over the center’s remaining activities.

Martins Ferry City Council set aside around $30,000 in a fund for upgrades for the Rec Center.

Davies said they plan to continue expanding the center, creating more opportunities for the youth in the area.

“That’s a community building and needs to be used by every age group,” he said.

Davies said they recently purchased a couple hundred pairs of roller skates from the former Roller Derby in Moundsville, which closed in March 2021, and brought a sound system for music to be played while people skate.

Davies said he took the advice of residents when deciding that a roller skating rink would be a good fit for the community.

“I did some research, and they used to roller skate there before. I talked to a few people and the team I have made it happen,” he said, adding that he was unsure when the skating rink was open previously.

Other renovations are underway at the Rec Center as well. Davies said they are working to ensure the city’s entire population is served.

The skate rink is in the gym area of the Rec Center on the second floor. Announcements of future skate dates will be made in the future once the city’s plans are finalized.

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