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Pelham - Windham News 12 - December 23, 2010


Pelham Ice Garden Installed at Lyon’s Park Basketball Courts for Winter


by Tom Tollefson Anyone suiting up with a coat and mittens to play winter basketball at Lyon’s Park in Pelham will be disappointed. A portable 100 by 50 foot community outdoor ice skating rink now covers the centers of both basketball courts until the ice melts around March. The Pelham Ice Garden was installed


Saturday, December 18, by a group of town volunteers. It’s the third year of the temporary outdoor ice rink and the first year it’s been laid across the basketball courts. It’s the portable ice rink’s third year in Pelham and first on the basketball courts. In the previous two years it was on the field. According to the Pelham Recreation Department and town volunteers, the change came because the basketball court offers a more level surface and better lighting, under the lighting, which is used during the summer hours


to keep pickup games going late. “We moved it there because it was the most level area. We had some issues the last few years with it not being 100 percent level,” Pelham Recreation Director Brian Johnson said. “When they laser graded it (this year), what seemed very level to the eye was quite a dramatic drop off.” According to Johnson, the unleveled


field varied about 14 inches from the deepest part to the shallowest. The town considered it a concern for the rink, which should have ice consistently 4 to 5 inches all the way around. “Our Parks and Recreation Director and I have been talking and most community ice rinks are on basketball courts and they don’t have problems,” lead volunteer Chris Nader said. “We called other communities who’ve done this (put a temporary ice rink on a basketball court) and they’ve never had a problem with it.” Starting December 26,


the Pelham Ice Garden is open dawn to 9 p.m. every day, and sees an average of 30 skaters a day. With few organized leagues, most of the open hours give residents an opportunity for free skating. The first major organized event will be Winter Fest, held at the rink on the last Saturday in January.


In the spring, the


ice will either evaporate or will be pumped out into the woods by the volunteers. According to Nader there is no concern for flooding. The rink is made up of 4 inch pipe and 12 mill reinforced liner and a fastening system that fastens the liner to the frame. The fastening system protects the liner from ice and ice skate blades. It’s filled by 20,000 gallons of water that is frozen usually over the first seven evenings. The rink was purchased from Porta-Rinx for $6,000. The money for the rink’s purchase


three years ago was covered through fundraising by the Pelham Ice Garden volunteer group and by a considerable donation from an anonymous resident. “The reason he gave us the check


was that he grew up in Boston and remembered how much fun he had skating outside at the MVC rinks and he wanted us to be able to do that in Pelham,” Mader said. This recreational ice rink is continually cared for by group of about seven volunteers. Each day the ice is smoothed over by a lawn tractor pulling a zamboni with a 50 gallon drum of hot water.


“It (the zamboni) basically turns it (the ice rink) into glass in five minutes,” Mader said.


Mader appreciates all his fellow


volunteers that help care for the upkeep of the rink. “We have a few committed people. They take a lot of pride that we have this in town. Having those committed volunteers is always a challenge.”


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Photos courtesy of Pelham Ice Garden Volunteer Group He also stated that the group is


always looking for additional help with cleaning off the snow. “People forget that when you get


a snow storm, you have to get the snow off that ice pretty quickly.


If


14 inches of snow falls, you have to have volunteers come down to clean off the ice. Otherwise it affects the ice quality,” Mader said. “When it comes to snow, you can always help shovel. When it’s snowing at home, it’s snowing at the ice rink, don’t assume that someone else is doing it. “It’s a big release in the volunteer group when someone else shows up with a snow shovel. It shows that people care about this ice rink.” Anyone interested in volunteering should go to Pelhamicegarden.webs.


com. The schedule for the Pelham Ice Garden, as posted on their Website is as follows: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. - Public skating 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Pond Hockey


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Skating 4-9 p.m. - Pick up hockey (Ages 13+


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