Officials consider rebuilding park rink Baltimore to weigh costs of new dome vs. creating permanent structure

July 09, 1996|By Kathleen B. Hennelly | Kathleen B. Hennelly,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Patterson Park ice rink's bubble-dome was damaged in the winter, and now city officials are looking into the possibility of rebuilding the entire skating center to make it a permanent, enclosed facility.

The cost of replacing the bubble-dome at the Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro Ice Skating Center would be about $250,000. But because the dome has had to be patched to repair weather damage, there is no reason to think it won't happen to a new dome, said Richard Preski, spokesman for the city Department of Recreation and Parks.

Preski said the city will consider building a permanent center if the cost of building it is not extravagantly higher than the cost to replace the dome.

A heavy vinyl bubble covered the steel skeletal structure of the center's dome until it collapsed from two large tears caused by the blizzard in January. The dome was not repairable, Preski said.

Once the dome was peeled back, the rink reopened as an outdoor facility, which was operated until the end of the season.

Replacing the dome would be difficult because of the cost and the center's shape.

The vinyl cover is shaped like the infrastructure, an elongated oval dome, and is difficult to replace because the cover has to be made to mold to the structure, recreation and parks officials said.

The rink off Eastern Avenue is surrounded by other outdoor recreational sites. A pool, a baseball diamond and tennis courts are located around the center. Neighbors like the idea of a permanent indoor rink.

"I think it would be great. We could bring our kids and skate all year," said Michelle Gillespie. "I have small kids; they can get pushed around in the crowded pools. Skating would be a good alternative."

Pub Date: 7/09/96

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