SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR—When the Kelly Rink will open for the 2008-2009 season and whether it will open in time for the normally busy school vacation time are up in the air this week—literally. So much depends on the weather.
Until this past Monday, the whole season depended on the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which funds and maintains the facility on Marbury Terrace on the Southwest Corridor Park. DCR originally said it would replace the worn-out piping last summer or early fall. Members of Friends of Kelly Rink, which oversees day-to-day operations of the rink, were worried.
But on Dec. 15, DCR delivered new pipes that hold the refrigerant to completely replace worn-out old piping removed the week before.
Work on putting them together started this week. Next steps require “good” weather—first, that is, fairly dry, nice days so workers can install more than 12,000 couplings on the pipes. Snow is a big problem. Then the whole system has to be tested. The next type of weather skaters and managers need is cold to make the ice—several days in a row of it.
DCR spokesperson Wendy Fox told the Gazette on Dec. 15 DCR hoped the rink could open on Dec. 20, but she said she was concerned they might not make it because of weather forecasts. Steve Glickel of the Friends said he was thinking it may be Dec. 29.
“If the rink opens at all during school vacation it will be something in the holiday miracle category,” Glickel said.
To give some idea of how many people enjoy skating during school vacation, during the holidays in past years, Friends of Kelly have rented out an average of 150 to 325 pairs of skates per day. And some people take their own skates.
Skating lessons are supposed to start on Saturdays in January.
Renovation of the entire rink, including new boards, is scheduled to be completed in the spring, after skating season.
Residents who want to know when the rink opens don’t need to look at the sky or check thermometers and count days. They may call the rink at 727-7000, the Friends at 301-8358 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to find out.
The Kelly Rink is a temporary facility awaiting construction of a permanent one as part of the redevelopment of Jackson Square.