Citizens Banded Together for Free Local Ice Skating Rink
After months of planning and effort people can start enjoying the rink.
A community effort came to fruition Saturday morning as a dozen volunteers put the finishing touches on the new Greendale Ice Rink.
The group put bagged bales of hay, forming a perimeter around the rink located in the open field next to the Greendale Middle School just behind the flagpole. The rink is now open to the public everyday of the week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Families have the opportunity to skate and then walk to the shops in the village to eat and use the restrooms, if needed. The street lights will provide enough light to skate after dark as well.
A group of volunteers started discussing the idea last Spring and presented a plan to the school board.
"With the school board behind us, it was easy to pass and create," said Mark Kapocius, Greendale Municipal Judge and one of the volunteers responsible for the creation of the rink. "The middle school has the ideal piece of land and it's so close to the village. "
The group saw a need and want for the rink.
"We've noticed an emerging trend of people making their own rinks in their back yards," Kapocius said. "Our theory was, if you could do it in a 20x20 yard, you could do it in a 100 x100 lot in a public space."
The group worked with the Parks & Recreation Director, Jackie Schweitzer, to funraise for the equipment. The construction included the laying of several layers of ice, which was ongoing for several weeks.
Use of the rink will be free and volunteers will continue with the upkeep. However, because it will be a public ice rink, those looking to skate will have to bring their own skates, and there will be no staff to supervise the rink.
The group even created a Facebook page and a Greendale Ice Rink website.
Despite the success of building the ice rink and its potential popularity, Kaprocius seemed most proud of how the idea came to fruition and what it can do for the community.
"This was not a top-down thing," he says. "It really was just people coming together – regular citizens – who worked through the proper channels and made it happen. It's an opportunity to showcase the Village of Greendale, bring more people in, and have a good time."
People seem to have high hopes for rink and it's potential to bring more life to Greendale.
"It's a fantastic idea for the village of Greendale – not only does it support the local businesses because inevitable we'll need to go to the coffee shop or Ferch's for a bite to eat and to warm up – but it is an amazing experience for our children as well," said Guy Ouellette, one of the founders and volunteers. "It's a Norman Rockwell scene – a throwback to earlier times. It'll keep the kids away from the video games and the television and have an amazing experience. I'm proud to know that my kids will one day be able to tell their children they used to ice skate in the downtown of Greendale during the winters."
*Angela Damiani contributed to this report.