By Ed Harris
The ice rink is returning for its second year and is set up on the Water Department property on Mill Street, just across from the Rails to Trails.
The rink, which is open throughout the winter months, made the move downtown from Memorial Park, where it was set up last year.
“We want to showcase our downtown,” said Town Councilor and rink organizer Dawn Miceli. “It is such a great area. We’re looking to make this a destination location.”
The idea for the ice rink, the first of its kind open to the public in town, originally came from Miceli and Water Commissioner Michael Domian, who are neighbors, and have fond memories of skating with their families at Domian’s own ice rink.
The original cost for the rink was about $7,000, which was raised through private donations. The rink is collapsible and can be reused year after year.
Last year, the opening year for the rink, saw wide community interest, even though a warmer than normal winter kept things more slushy than icy.
“Mother Nature did not cooperate with us,” Miceli said.
However, on the rare instances where Mother Nature did cooperate, Miceli said the rink was packed with residents. Officials even noticed that local youths were interested in using the rink to play hockey, so designated hockey hours were included this year.
“There’s a great interest in hockey play,” Miceli said. “We saw our youths out there last year.”
Public ice skating will be offered this season – weather permitting –Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Skaters use the rink at their own risk and appropriate safety gear is recommended. There is no skate attendant on duty and children should be supervised by a responsible adult. .
Alcohol is prohibited and food, drinks and smoking are not allowed in the skating area.
Hockey play, sticks or pucks are not allowed on ice during recreational skating times, but are allowed Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 3- 5 p.m. Hockey players must wear helmets/face shields and protective gear during hockey sessions. Recreational skating is prohibited during hockey sessions.
Parking for the community ice skating rink is on Mill Street at the Rails to Trails parking lot and the Southington Municipal Center parking lot.
The temporary ice rink was made available via generous donation from ESPN, Billy Carlson Heating & Air Conditioning, PTE Energy, The Calvanese Foundation, Ray Gorman and family, Yarde Metals, and an anonymous private donor.
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By Ed Harris