Despite getting a late start this year, the organizers of the Greendale Ice Rink are determined to provide free skating to the community once again.
On January 17, workers were out clearing the snow in front of in order to start creating the ice rink.
Jackie Schweitzer, Director of Greendale's Park & Rec Department, says ideally they like to have four inches of frost in the ground before they start the rink, but that hasn't happened so far with this winter's unseasonably warm weather.
When a cold snap finally happened last week, organizers decided to go for it. Because the rink is created on a grassy area, many thin layers of ice have to be built up by spraying water from a hose attached to a nearby fire hydrant. Schweitzer says most of the time the three man crew made up of local resident Peter Theis, his son - Joe Theis, and their friend Joe Zizzo, are out making ice late into the night when the temperatures are coldest.
Making the ice at night also allows for it to freeze smooth and solid, before anyone has the chance to walk on it and break up the layers or create bumps in the surface, as apparently was the case last week when they found some child size footprints in the ice that had been laid that afternoon.
Schweitzer says the typical seasonal life-span of an outdoor rink in our area is from around Christmas until the 2nd week of February. She said the up-and-down temperatures have been especially challenging this year, but that the workers will continue to repair the ice for as long as feasible this winter.
The ice rink was who were nostalgic for the local rink they recalled from growing up in the village. Now under the auspices of the Park & Rec Department, Schweitzer says the rink is self-sustaining and that no tax dollars are used to fund it. She said it costs an average of $4,000 a season to operate the ice rink and that all the money comes from donations, which are used to pay for the labor, equipment and the water bill.
So far this season they have raised $3,859 from the following donors:
- Greendale Entertainment Association
- Greendale Village Business Association
- Bedrock Capital Group LLC
- Anderson Commercial Group LLC
- Sherry & Chloe Dembowiak
Money was also collected in donation canisters placed at village businesses and from the hockey game booth at Village Days.
Anyone looking to make a tax-deductible donation to the ice rink can make it out to the Greendale School District and send it to the Park & Rec Department. All money indicated for the ice rink is kept in a separate fund soley for that purpose and carries over from one season to the next.
The Greendale Ice Rink is free to the public and is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., weather permitting.