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Hamburg recreational skating rink depends on cold climates

HAMBURG — The village of Hamburg has constructed an outdoor ice rink for residents’ recreational use every winter, for more than 40 years.

“Once the weather is cold enough ... generally speaking, the rink goes up after the first of the year with the snow, which could expedite it,” said Village Recreation Supervisor, Josh Haeick, in regard to the rink construction process.

He said that several factors must be evaluated, however, before the rink can be built. “We have to look at the forecast and have an extended period of [temperatures] mid – low 20, or colder,” Haeick said, adding that these cold temperatures provide a solid base of snow, to form the bank perimeter.

When the conditions are right, a regular plow truck will be used, to form a solid snowbank. The Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department will assist with the flooding of the area.

Haeick said that he and Fire Chief Tim Moses work hand-in-hand on the rink project and added that the local firefighters have been “instrumental in helping us.”

The flooding often takes two sessions, according to Haeick. “The best time to flood is at night,” he said, adding that it can take up to 10 minutes for an area to freeze, on a cold evening.

Upon completion, the rink will be large, mirroring at least the size of the ones utilized by the National Hockey League.

Benches will be brought to the area, whether it be for watching, resting or skate adjusting. The rink will be open all week, but is unsupervised.

“We don’t supervise for a couple reasons,” Haeick said.

He said that Hamburg does not have enough money to pay staff members to be on site for lengthy periods of time. He added that, since there is not a possibility of someone supervising during all of the open hours, there are liability risks if something were to happen, while the proposed supervisor was off-duty.

Rather, with warning signs posted around the rink, this offering will be a “skate-at-your-own-risk” setting. Local police enforcement will sometimes monitor the area.

Haeick emphasized that he hopes citizens understand that the rink is weather dependent. “We want the rink up as much as everyone else does,” he said, but added that, if there is not a continuous cold spell, the ice will not hold.

The village of Hamburg will post updates about the project on its website, www.villageofhamburg.com. The projected day of construction will be some time after Jan. 1.

When open, the village of Hamburg skating rink will welcome skaters open all day until 9 p.m., Sunday – Thursday, and all day until 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Lights will be turned on for evening skating. The rink will be located at the Union Pleasant Elementary School at 150 Pleasant Ave. in Hamburg.
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