Effort underway to bring skating rink to borough

This 2009 photo shows teens ice skating at a rink at the Joseph R. Healy Recreation Area on Meadow Street in Naugatuck. Beautification Committee co-chair Linda Ramos is currently leading an effort to raise money to buy a new portable ice skating rink for the borough. –RA ARACHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Where do borough residents go during the winter months when they want to strap on a pair of ice skates?

If borough resident and Beautification Committee co-chair Linda Ramos has her way, skaters will be treated to a new skating rink once the temperatures start falling.

Ramos is leading an effort to raise money to buy a portable ice skating rink for the borough.

In previous years, the town has created a skating rink at Salem Elementary School.

“In the past, we’ve tried to work with the former basketball court at Salem School. We are prisoner to weather and elements,” Public Works Superintendent Robert Roland said.

He explained that the asphalt underneath was black and would heat up very quickly. Even if the center remained frozen, the edges would begin to melt.

This past winter the Parks Department was only able to provide ice skating for a couple of weeks.

Ramos felt that children who enjoyed ice skating or playing hockey should be given an opportunity just like any other athletic team.

“Maybe they aren’t playing other sports … maybe ice skating is their niche,” Ramos said.

Ramos knows a thing about children who enjoy skating. Her son Todd, who is now 36, grew up playing hockey and coached a travel hockey team.

These days it is Todd’s children who have begun to show an interest in skating.

Ramos she discussed the possibility of using a portable rink for the town with her son.

Portable ice skating rinks use a synthetic ice for the base, which allows skating in any type of weather. Even if the winter turned out to be mild, like this past one, children would still be able to skate.

Besides the problem with the weather, Roland felt that the portable rink would be able to cut down on the vandalism that was done to the rink at Salem Elementary School.

“The kids throw stuff on the ice and damage ice surface. We think that, with a temporary rink we can put up and take down, we can secure the area and manage ice better,” Roland said.

Roland explained that there had been numerous requests for an ice skating rink.

The rink and cover would be bought through private funds. She said that the total cost of the rink and cover is estimated to be between $25,000 and $30,000.

Ramos is currently looking for companies that would like to sponsor the rink and is planning a fundraiser in July at Tequila Grill Mexican Restaurant to raise money for the rink.

Once the rink is purchased, the town would be in charge of the upkeep.

“The Park Department would maintain it, cleaning any snow off it as necessary and resurfacing the ice if necessary,” Roland said.

Roland said the town was looking into a few possible locations for the rink, but did not want to go into specifics about it at this time. Roland added that the town is looking into who would be liable if someone was injured while on the rink.

If the rink becomes a reality, Ramos said her son would be able to give skating and hockey lessons to children whenever he was available. She would also like to hold some night events on the rink, complete with hot chocolate.

She said, however, that nothing is set in stone. She first needs to be able to raise the funds to buy the rink.

Anyone interested in donating money can send a check, made out to the Naugatuck Beautification Committee, to Linda Ramos, 17 Carriage Drive, Naugatuck, CT 06770.

For more information, e-mail Ramos at Lsrgigi3@aol.com.