Skating into 20 years: Treadwell Arena celebrates anniversary

    Sandy Williams Jr. and his wife, Susanne, celebrate 20 years of the ice rink being open. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Treadwell Arena celebrated their anniversary with a free skate and prize drawings Saturday night.

    Sandy Williams Jr. and Susanne Williams are long-time Douglas residents.

    Sandy Williams shared with News of the North how Treadwell came to be.

    "In 1986, the Fourth of July Committee figured they'd better do something to celebrate 100 years of celebrating Fourth of July in '98 in Douglas. So I told them, I was chair of the board at the time, we could build another pavilion in a park or build a sledding hill for kids on Sixth Street with lights," he recounted. "We're going back to the east coast for a week or two. When we come back, don't give me more ideas, tell me what we're going to do. I came back and they told me we were going to build an ice rink."

    He said he couldn't have done it alone.

    "Saner minds prevailed and with a lot of assistance from the community, donations, and two major grants, we raised two and a half million dollars. Wayne Jensen's architectural firm supplied all of the engineering for free," he shared. "So we came to the city and they felt that there ought to be a little more foundation put under the ice. That was gonna raise it about a million dollars. So we asked the city to go to the public and get a bond issue and they did. So here we are. Rich Poor was very instrumental with it and Wayne Jensen as well as Parks and Rec director at that time. It's been a real success."

    The couple shared they live on the street above that overlooks the arena, and they take pride and joy in seeing the parking lot full from open to close. The Williams also said Treadwell has turned them into hockey fans.

    The Williams were on the Fourth of July Committee for about 20 years.

    Susanne said Treadwell Arena has come a long way since it opened. The ice rink now hosts a free Halloween Skate and free Santa Skate.

    Upcoming on Mar. 31 and Apr. 1 is its annual spring show.

    The Fourth of July Committee has now been around for 120 years. They don't only help with the Fourth of July parade, but also a Christmas tree lighting at Douglas United Methodist Church and a recent Ghost Light walk for Halloween at the Mt. Jumbo gym.

    They also plan many events leading up to the Fourth of July parade, such as a watermelon eating contest, bike decorating day, sand dollar hunt, and soapbox car race.

    The Fourth of July Committee also helps restock the skates for rentals and supports other Douglas-related activities.

    There are usually about 9 people on the Committee, and they meet from April to July.

    Find out about future open skates and the upcoming spring show here.

    Above: The staff of Treadwell Arena takes a group photo with the Williams in the center. Below: Jacob Pickard holds his twin daughters' hands as they skate during the anniversary celebration. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    Below: Sabrina Nelson tests out her skills on the ice. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    Below: Carissa Armstrong takes her daughter, Julia Bluett, skating for the first time. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

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