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Park Rapids' community skating rink has been upgraded with hockey boards and lights. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Lights added to outdoor ice rink

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A community skating rink has a few more amenities this year with the addition of lights and hockey boards.

The Park Rapids outdoor community skating rink, located at Depot Park between the tennis courts and J&B Foods, has developed due to the efforts of several volunteers.

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Paul Larson is a member of the Park Rapids Park Board and spearheaded the initiative. He gave an update on the progress of the rink at Monday night's Park Board meeting.

Last winter, the skating area was simply a sheet of ice. This year, there is a sheet of ice with the addition of three lights to allow for skating in the evening, along with an area enclosed by hockey boards for broomball or outdoor hockey.

Larson said he has been busy getting the area ready for use.

He said Itasca-Mantrap volunteered to set the light poles and Donn Hoffmandug in lines for the power.

"It's just about up and running," Larson said of the community skating area.

Aaron Warmbold, Larson's son-in-law, volunteered a lot of man hours as well.

The only cost to the city has been $500 for the boards and $750 for lighting. The rest has been contributed.

The three light poles are located on the east side of the rink. In the future, three additional lights could be added on the west side, Larson said.

"It lights it up pretty nice and there is a possibility for lights to be added that point toward the tennis courts," he said.

The lights are set up on a timer, turning on at 4:30 p.m. and off at 10 p.m.

The skating area is free to use.

Larson would like to eventually see some broomball leagues start up or outdoor hockey leagues.

A warming house could be added in the future but it would need to be a temporary structure.

A ribbon cutting or other type of grand opening event is in the works.

"There's no time for open skating at the community center so this gives that opportunity," Larson said.

In other business, the Park Board:

n Discussed possible improvements to Rice Park. There is about $3,500 left from a Master Gardener project that could be used to improve the park.

Some ideas included planting trees, placing boulders along the driving area to prevent people from driving on the grass or adding a rain garden to prevent erosion.

Park Board members will look into these possibilities and report back at a future meeting.

n Heard an update on Pioneer Park plans.

A task force has been working with a landscape designer to spruce up the park. A design and price list could be presented to the Park Board at its next meeting, Jan. 9.

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