by Dennis Dalman
There will be a small-sized sheet of ice for outdoor pleasure skating this winter next to the Bernick’s Arena in Pinecone Regional Park.
The Sartell City Council authorized the ice sheet at its Sept. 24 meeting after hearing input from a representative of the Sartell Area Youth Hockey Association.
Currently, just south of the Bernick’s Arena, there is an outside hockey rink, as well as a warming house and a kiddie playground. Members of the hockey association said the playground equipment could be stored at a city maintenance facility for the winter, and a sheet of ice could be put in place where the equipment was. The actual moving work would be done by prisoners in the Sentence to Serve program, along with many volunteer hockey players.
The plan to lay down a sheet of ice at that site had been discussed at a previous council meeting. Even earlier, months ago, there had been some disagreements about the varying uses of the hockey rink, with some pleasure-skaters feeling excluded. The council agreed to divide up times so the rink could be used, at various times, for either hockey or pleasure skating.
This new sheet of ice will be used by pleasure skaters – at least skaters who are younger children as the sheet of ice will not be very large.
The council voted 3-2 in favor of the ice sheet. Council members Steve Hennes and Sarah Jane Nicoll voted against it. Both said they think the ice sheet should be delayed this year, partly because a task force will soon be examining the possibility of constructing a city resources center in Pinecone Regional Park. Nicoll said an arrangement had earlier been worked out for use of the hockey rink for both hockey and pleasure skaters. That, she said, should be sufficient through this coming winter. She also said she does not favor taking down playground equipment, which may or may not go up again next spring. Cost, she said, should also be a consideration for delaying an ice sheet, perhaps for the winter after next.
Members of the hockey association said the cost of moving the playground equipment would be virtually nothing. The city will spend up to $1,000 for a supervisor to be at the site when the playground equipment is moved. That will be the extent of the city’s cost.
In her motion to approve the measure, council member Sandra Cordie suggested a supervisor be hired to oversee the playground removal to storage, that the ice sheet by put down and the playground be put back in place as soon as possible next spring.