Highlands ice rink at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founder’s Park had it’s first ice skaters glide across the rink yesterday afternoon as the 2018 skating season gets underway.
“The people love it,” said Highlands Parks and Recreation Department Director Lester Norris. “Even if they don’t skate they come and watch other people skate. It’s a big draw and we have lots of groups come here for it.”
This is the fourth season Highlands has had an ice rink up on the courtyard of Founders. Before they opened up the ice to skaters town crews used industrial heaters to try and melt the ice down in order to remove some leaves that had frozen within. But even with the extra thermal firepower the leaves wouldn’t budge.
“We’re going to try again this weekend with the Zamboni,” said Norris. “But even with an industrial-strength heater you can spend all day blowing and only pick up one leaf.”
The rink has tubes running underneath full of ethylene glycol that lowers the freezing point of water. Every two hours the rink is doused with water and the glycol (anti-freeze) lowers that water temperature to 12.5 degrees said Norris.
He added that if the Zamboni doesn’t do the job he’s confident the ice with continue to freeze over them. Leaves are a concern because they can catch a skate and cause someone to fall and during sunny days the dark spots caused by leaves reflect heat and create soft spots in the ice.
But soft spots didn’t seem to be a problem for Highlands resident 10-year-old Margaret Cole.
“The first year I came here was fun because my mom taught me how to skate, but I got to watch her fall down a lot,” said Cole.
Cole’s sister Olivia, 13, remembered when the rink first opened in 2014.
“I was so excited because there isn’t that much to do here in the wintertime,” said Olivia. “But if you’re skating and you’re in trouble go to the wall. If you fall, you’re going to get really wet and get a big bruise, usually on your butt.”
Getsi Hernandez, 13, thought the rink was a wonderful addition to the town’s recreational facilities when she first started lacing up her skates last year.
“It’s so much fun, you get to come here and hang out with your friends whenever you want,” said Hernandez. “When I first heard about it, I thought, wow, that’s pretty amazing.”
MacKenzie Woods, 13 said it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.
“It’s a really fun thing for kids to do,” said Woods. “But yeah, if you fall, you’re going to get really wet and wherever you fell is going to hurt for 10 minutes, but then you get used to it.”
Ice Rink Schedule
- Open Nov. 9 to first Week of March 2019
- Thursdays 1-8 p.m.
- Fridays and Saturdays 1-10 p.m.
- Mondays and Tuesdays 6-8 p.m.
Ice Rink Christmas Schedule
- Open 1-8 p.m. on Nov. 20-22,
- Open 1-8 p.m. on Dec. 26-27
- Open 1-8 p.m. on Jan. 1-3
- Dec. 24-25
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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