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An outdoor community ice skating rink will be open for skating in the next week or two. It will be located at Depot Park in Park Rapids. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Community ice skating rink to open in Depot Park soon

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A community ice skating rink could be ready for skaters the end of this week or next week.

The rink will be located at Depot Park in Park Rapids between the tennis courts and J&B Foods.

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Paul Larson is a member of the Park Rapids Park Board and has spearheaded the initiative.

"I'm looking at a possible leisure rink for kids instead of the hockey rink," he said at a Park Rapids City Council meeting earlier this year. "They have a tough time with ice time. The outside ice is used by other players and teams."

Larson is looking to move snow this week. It will be 120 x 100 feet. He hopes to put a temporary warming hut in this winter as well.

The Park Rapids Fire Department will flood the rink as soon as schedules are coordinated, he said.

"It would be safe for the kids, safe for people, and it would be a good showcase for the city for people to see an up north ice rink," Larson said.

The project will be done in phases. This winter will be pretty basic, with a slab of ice and temporary warming hut.

"Hopefully, with some more support we can get a permanent warming hut and more," he said.

Other future ideas include adding hockey boards or pavement. If pavement was put under the hockey boards before they were placed, there could be inline skating in the summer, he added. Also, Community Education could use the area for activities such as broomball.

Larson would also like to see a warming house with bathrooms.

The Park Rapids Area School District owns the property and he also got the OK from the district.

The red swing set will be removed but the basketball court will be left as is, he said.

In the big scheme, lighting could be added to the area and possibly be shared with the Park Rapids Tennis Association, Larson said.

He hasn't asked the city for money to get the rink set up but was given support to take the reigns on fundraising.

Detroit Lakes has an outdoor rink that is very successful, Larson said. He likes some of the ideas they used, such as flooding the rink around the trees to give it a "woodsy" feel.

There is a possibility of getting volunteers from the hockey association or others to remove snow and maintain the rink.

"Hopefully this will be used and be an asset to the community," Larson said.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561
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