by Dennis Dalman
A new pleasure-skating rink near Bernick’s Arena will quite likely be constructed in time for skating fun this winter.
John Michaud, president of the Sartell Youth Hockey Association, presented a plan to the Sartell City Council at its Aug. 27 meeting. The plan is to move the playground equipment from where it is now to the east. Then, a pleasure-skating rink could be put down, as large as 120 feet by 70 feet, Michaud suggested.
It might cost the city about $6,000 to help do the project, but the SYHA would chip in labor and about half the total $12,000 cost. The pleasure rink would be located just by the warming shelter there, not too far from the outdoor hockey-skating rink.
All of the council members and Mayor Joe Perske expressed nearly ecstatic enthusiasm for the proposal. For one thing, there have been unhappy feelings and disputes about the use of the current outdoor rink at Pinecone Regional Park. There was sometimes a conflict between hockey players and pleasure skaters as to when each faction could use the rink. There were also fears that non-hockey skaters could be injured at the periphery of hockey games. With the new plan, pleasure skaters would always have their own rink.
It’s still not known yet if a zamboni will be able to access the new rink to make the ice nice-and-smooth. However, council member David Peterson, who lives on the east side of Sartell, said the rink in Val Smith Park is never smoothed by a zamboni, and it is perfectly skateable.
Sartell Public Works Director Brad Borders told the council the area where the playground equipment would be moved is on lower ground – about three feet lower. It will require proper fill before any equipment can be located there.
The council requested the SYHA to do more research, including a reliable estimate of costs to be shared by the SYHA and the City of Sartell. Michaud said he would report back to the council soon.