Rec Director Says No Annual Ice Rink This Winter, Replacement Needed

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A community in New York state won't have its annual recreational ice skating rink because the town needs to replace the rink altogether. 

The Town of Lewiston announced it is looking to buy a replacement rink after their rink — used since 2011 — has outlived its life expectancy.

The rink was meant to be stationary, not to be put up and taken down year after year. Town Recreation Director Cathy Cvijetinovic told the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal that the coils used to cool the ice get cracked when rolled up and the manifolds and ice skates need replacing.

"We have to think about our Lewiston residents. We want to put up a good program," Cvijetinovic said. "Having to cancel all the time because the rink's not working, it would have been too many issues this year."

The rink is usually set up in Academy Park in the village, but it never got the approval from the village to go ahead due to other construction happening. Normally, the skating season lasts from the end of November to the beginning of January.

The recreation department would also need $50,000 to replace between 420 and 450 pairs of ice skates, with the ones used being over 10 years old and never being sharpened. Grants would be pursued to pay for the rink and cover equipment costs

Instead of having a rink this year, Cvijentinovic is meeting with Niagara University officials to arrange some dates at the Dwyer Arena for Lewiston residents to go there and skate, along with the Hyde Park skating rink. She said this would be temporary as the town looks into buying a new ice rink for next year and set it up in a new location for year-round use.

"We want to find a permanent location for it," Cvijentinovic said, "so we then we can keep it there and maybe use it during the summertime as some type of sports court."

Town Board member William Geiben said he wants the recreation department to have a new location and equipment ready by March 2023, so the town can pursue grant funding and be ready for winter that year. Town Supervisor Steve Broderick said the rink was not safe, with the boards in ill-repair, some quick fixes handled with duct safe, and some kids getting their hands cut on it.

In 2019, there had been talk in the village of moving the rink from Academy Park, with officials citing the damage the rink does to the park. Ultimately, the rink opened in the park that year.

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