TAYLOR RIDGE, Illinois – Some folks in Taylor Ridge are loving the cold swing after a local man, Mike Chillemi, opened an ice rink in his backyard for kids in the community to enjoy.
From the curb, Chillemi’s house looks like any ordinary house on the street, but in Chillemi’s backyard is the reason why his neighbors say he’s the cool kid on the block.
“I’m just the ice guy,” says Chillemi. “I make the ice in my yard.”
Chillemi’s ice rink has been a neighborhood tradition for years.
“This will be year number six,” Chillemi comments. “And probably the fourth year we are able to skate.”
After some fluctuating temperatures this winter, it is finally opening day with everything you would find at a public ice rink like concessions and skates for all sizes – and it’s all for free.
“It’s really cool,” says skater Adyson Reid. “Then you don’t have to go somewhere where you have to pay.”
And everybody’s invited even if it’s just to watch.
“The glass door, the garage door, was so I could sit and watch the storms by, but it kind of turned into this,” remembers Chillemi.
Everyone of any skill level is invited, just like five-year-old Cadence Reid who is checking out the ice for her first time.
“We thought we wanted to go ice skating because it’s so much fun,” Cadence says.
“I couldn’t do it without all the neighborhood,” says Chillemi.
As for the neighborhood, they couldn’t do it without a chill guy like Chillemi.
Chillemi says there were 40 people there this afternoon. They’re open again tomorrow and every weekend for as long as the ice lasts.