It has been a great winter for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and sledding (recent blog posts with photos). But it’s also been terrific for outdoor skating, as we’ve only had a couple days of temps above freezing. Northfielders are fortunate to have many well-maintained outdoor ice rinks, all with warming houses.
I took photos of a few of them this week during one of our many light snowfalls. I plan to take photos of the others (see the parks with an ‘x’ in the ice rink column on the City of Northfield’s parks page) in the next week or so.
See this album, the large slideshow (recommended), or this small slideshow:
Corey Butler has posted a Northfield Patch video titled: The Making of a Northfield Ice Rink
It’s nice to see the ice rinks get a little love.
The city has five rinks—Babcock (closed this year), Greenvale Park Elementary, Roosevelt Park, Washington Park and Way Park. Public works floods those rinks and are contracted to flood Carleton’s two rinks. The city does not take care of the outdoor rink next to the Northfield Ice Arena. The NHA takes care of that.
Also, while the weather has been plenty cold, which is good for ice, the snow hasn’t been as kind. As you see in the first photo, there’s snow on the ice. I’m sure this photo was taken after a recent snowfall, but the city doesn’t have tenants at the rink that run the warming houses. Therefore, the snow sits unless do-gooders who want to use the rink shovel it, the truck comes through and floods the rink, or the wind blows it away or it melts.
I’m not sure if Northfield ever had tenants at its rinks. I grew up in Lakeville where there seemed to be dozens of skating and ice rinks. Many of them were staffed with high-schoolers to oversee after-school operations and to shovel ice and such. With budget cuts, I know most, if not all, of these positions have been scrapped in recent years. In fact, some rinks aren’t flooded any more. Anyone have more knowledge if Northfield once had tenants?
For anyone who frequents outdoor rinks, you know skating in snow is no fun.
The Harkness Family which lives on St. Olaf Avenue next to Way Park, for years were what you call a “tenants” Corey. Lloyd and his wife Mavis kept track of all the amenities in the park year round as volunteers. In her honor, the family had the basketball court built on the south west part of the park. The rink is very popular. Today when I walked by, neighbor kids with a couple of parents were playing a lively game of hockey. In the evenings, quite often what I think may be St. Olaf students play a more vigorous version. The city grooms it often enough that with a little touch up by the users in between times, it is a real asset in the neighborhood.
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