Ice skating rink opens in Naugatuck

Alex Kuczenski, 10, of Naugatuck talks with Park Commission member Linda Ramos Saturday at the snack hut near the portable ice skating rink on the St. Francis Church Field in Naugatuck. The rink officially opened for the first time Saturday. –LUKE MARSHALL

Alex Kuczenski, 10, of Naugatuck talks with Park Commission member Linda Ramos Saturday at the snack hut near the portable ice skating rink on the St. Francis Church Field in Naugatuck. The rink officially opened for the first time Saturday. –LUKE MARSHALL

 

NAUGATUCK — Borough residents have a new place to go skating — ice skating that is.

The borough’s new portable ice skating rink, located on St. Francis Field off of Meadow Street and Meadow Court, officially opened to the public on Saturday.

The 72-foot-by-92-foot oval rink was the brought to the borough through the efforts of Park Commission member Linda Ramos. She raised $6,000 for the rink in about a year with the help of a $3,000 donation from the Ion Bank Foundation in November, which ensured the rink would open this winter.

Ramos said she wanted to bring the rink to Naugatuck because her son and grandchildren love to ice skate and play hockey.

“We’ve been a skating family forever,” Ramos said.

The rink falls under the control of the Park and Recreation Department. The department developed the rules and regulations for using the rink with advice from the borough’s insurance company, Recreation Director Kim Eyre said.

“The borough’s insurance company had some recommendations, which matched up with our own,” Eyre said.

The rink will be open for public skating Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 6 p.m.

Ramos said that someone will be there to keep an eye on the activity at the rink while it is open.

“The plan is I will put together a volunteer group to be there when it’s not a Parks and Recreation activity,” Ramos said. “Hopefully, I will get volunteers to help me.”

The only days and times when hockey sticks and pucks will be allowed on the rink are Saturdays from 8 to 10 a.m. and Sundays from 6 to 8 p.m. For hockey practice only, no games will be allowed at least this year.

Eyre said there is only limited times for hockey because the department doesn’t know how many people will be interested in playing.

Naugatuck Public Works Superintendent Robert Roland cleans snow off the portable ice skating rink Saturday morning on the St. Francis Church Field in Naugatuck before the rink officially opened. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck Public Works Superintendent Robert Roland cleans snow off the portable ice skating rink Saturday morning on the St. Francis Church Field in Naugatuck before the rink officially opened. –LUKE MARSHALL

“We are starting off small and seeing how it goes. We want to have it open for public skate as much as possible,” Eyre said.

Eyre said if there is a lot of interest in hockey this year the hours could be extended to meet the demand next year.

Regardless of how much time the hockey players are allowed to practice, actually playing hockey games is currently not allowed on the ice, Ramos said.

Ramos said since the field the rink is on belongs to St. Francis Church the church has the final say as to what activities are allowed there.

“There will be no hockey games. The church doesn’t feel they want to see that happen right now,” Ramos said.

Ramos said she hopes to speak with the church about reconsidering allowing hockey after this season. However, in the meantime, Ramos has found a way to thank the church for allowing the use of the field and the snack bar.

For every item sold from the snack bar, 50 percent of the money will be donated back to the church.

Eyre was also grateful to the church for allowing the rink to be placed on its field.

“St. Francis Church was very gracious in letting us use the space,” Eyre said. “We put it there for this year and will see how it goes. Hopefully, it will be there from now on.”

Ramos said it means a lot to the borough to have a place where people can go ice skating.

“It’s great for building community spirit and building family spirit,” Ramos said. “I think it’s about family outings. This way mom and pop can be on the ice with their children. It’s a great way to spend time together.”

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