Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 9, 2014

Icey attraction Park rink proving popular with families

By Bill Kirk

---- — The town’s new ice rink in The Park glided successfully into 2014 as skaters took advantage of cold temperatures to enjoy some quality family time last week.

“I’m so thrilled,” said Mollie Shenker of Candlewood Drive, skating on New Year’s Day with her son, Aaron, 5.

“You’re not allowed to skate on the ponds. I was too anxious to take him there anyway. And this is much easier than building a rink in your backyard.”

Aaron pushed a couple of attached milk crates around, sliding along on his skates as his mother encouraged him.

“This was a great idea,” she said.

The 40-by-60-foot rink — located in a corner of The Park just off Bartlet Street near the Town Offices parking lot — resembles a typical backyard rink. It was built by a group of volunteers, under the guidance of the public works department, using 2-by-8-foot boards and a tarp bought at Home Depot. A hydrant was opened to flood the surface.

The rink faced a rocky start as warm weather made ice-making difficult.

But during Christmas week, the temperature plunged and by New Year’s Day, the ice was rock-hard.

Ted Teichert, a former selectman who pushed the rink idea in November, just had knee surgery and hasn’t had a chance to skate on it yet. But he said that so far, it’s looking pretty good.

“It’s a little bumpy and some people say it’s too small, but I say, ‘This is the first year. Just wait,’” Teichert said last Friday, as a storm that dropped more than a foot of snow on the region finally started to drift out to sea. “We’ll make it bigger next year.”

But for pint-sized skaters, the diminutive rink was just fine. In fact, it was just right.

“It’s pretty good,” said Adam Gleichmann, 5, skating with his father, Mark, on New Year’s Day.

“It’s nice,” agreed his dad. “It’s good for families.”

Teichert said a group of volunteers, including Bob Chaves, Ames Prentiss and Bob Carver, stepped up to clear the snow that fell just after New Year’s. He said it’s important to remove the snow as soon after a storm as possible to maintain the smooth surface

A gang of snow shovelers was at the rink last Friday evening around 5, working hard to get the newly fallen, foot or so of snow off the ice before it could adhere.