Westminster puts freeze on use of skating rink Portable facility will stay in storage until next year

December 02, 1996|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Skaters will have to glide farther away this winter: The city of Westminster has decided not to open its portable outdoor ice rink.

"I wanted to put out the announcement now so people won't go buy ice skates," said Ronald J. Schroers, the city's supervisor of recreation.

A permanent site for the portable rink will be included in the development of the Dutterer Family Park and should be ready for public use by the 1997-1998 season, he said.

Work on the park was delayed so the Baltimore Ravens could use the land for parking during summer training camp at Western Maryland College, said Thomas B. Beyard, Westminster director of planning and public works.

"So we're taking a one-year breather," Beyard said, "and people can expect it next year in a much better location."

Carroll County ice skaters may have to travel to Baltimore or to Frederick or Howard counties for now, he said.

"What we'll have will be much, much better," he said. "There will be a permanent facility, and we'll have an easier time keeping the water frozen and the ice maintained."

The portable rink was set up last winter on a playground behind the Longwell Center, but it was difficult to keep the ice skateable. The rink -- about 200 feet by 80 feet -- was donated to the city by a local family.

The skating season runs about 60 days, from Jan. 1 until the end of February, Beyard said, but last year had only 10 to 15 good skating days because "with the depth of the water, it didn't freeze." Liability and expense weren't a problem, he said. There were "a couple of turned ankles," and the rink cost only "a couple thousand dollars setting up," Beyard said.

Beyard said he expects that a private indoor ice rink will open eventually in the county.

"I think one will come here because of the interest people have from the Olympics, ice hockey and such." But, he said, "there's still the nostalgia of outdoor skating, of skating in the cold, that people like."

Pub Date: 12/02/96

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