If all goes according to plan, residents of Delhi and surrounding areas will soon be “chilling out” on a community ice skating rink, organizers said Monday.
The target date for the grand opening of the 100-foot-by-50-foot rink is Saturday, according to Matt Krzyston, a member of the Delhi Town Council. Krzyston said the rink will be adjacent to the Delaware Academy bus garage on Sheldon Drive, on the plot of land that was home to the village pool for more than 50 years.
Krzyston said the portable rink, which was purchased as a kit from a company called NiceRink, arrived Monday. The rink will be large enough to accommodate 50 skaters at one time, Krzyston said.
Krzyston said the rink is a joint effort between the Delhi village and town boards, and has been in the works for about a year.
Several community members skate at Smith Pond, located next to O’Connor Hospital, Krzyston said. However, he said, town and village board members became concerned with the safety and accessibility of this location.
“We wanted a location that emergency personnel could easily get to, if needed,” Krzyston said, “and a place with easy access to parking.”
That’s where NiceRink came in. According to its website, the company is the world’s leading manufacturer of outdoor liners for portable ice skating rinks, offering “a unique, personalized, self-leveling rink system that can be set up anywhere.” The company and its rinks have been featured on ESPN and NBC. Kits include brackets, special thermal boards, a sturdy rink liner and an ice resurfacer, according to the website.
Krzyston said the rink will be filled with water today, and it will take about three days for the water to freeze. He said the ice will be approximately eight inches thick.
Village Mayor Richard Maxey said the rink will offer a much safer alternative to skating on ponds or rivers, where ice is not always solid and can crack or break, resulting in injury or drowning. He said safety of the public was a top concern in the town and village’s decision to buy the rink.
Maxey said Delhi used to have a skating rink near the American Legion Field, but it was moved when plans for a community swimming pool in the area emerged. Maxey also said there used to be a theater and bowling alley in Delhi.
“Both the town and village boards are very conscious of recreational needs in the community,” Maxey said, “and we are working together to provide more opportunities, such as the skating rink.”
Maxey said he’s looking forward to working with the town board which, he said, has taken the lead on the project. He said such amenities benches, bathrooms and a roof may eventually be added to the rink but, he said, the project will be taken “one step at a time.”
Krzyston said the cost of the rink will be split between the town and village. The rink will be free to the public, he said.
Eventually, Krzyston said, there will be lights at the rink and a place to warm up. He said there will be several weekends when the Delaware County Community Action Network will provide snacks for skaters.
Krzyston said a similar rink was installed in Margaretville several years ago, and has been a popular attraction.
“A lot of people are getting really excited,” Krzyston said. “You need to have something for people, especially kids, to do this time of year.”
Delaware Academy Central School Superintendent Jason Thomson agreed, saying the skating rink will be a great addition for the community’s young people. He said his children have been asking about the rink and are excited to get out on the ice.
“Anything positive for kids to do, especially during the winter, is a good thing,” Thomson said. “It’s nice to have something for them to do other than sitting inside and playing video games. Kudos to the town and village boards for providing them, and the whole community, with this new opportunity.”