Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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November 21, 2013

Smooth as ice: Park rink skates through approval

Whether it will be like a scene from a Currier and Ives painting, or a leaf-filled duck pond, remains to be seen.

But the Department of Community Services has won the go-ahead to build an ice rink in one corner of The Park.

The 40-by-60-foot rink will be available for anyone who wants to get out for a mid-winter, freestyle skate. Because it will be constructed much like a backyard rink, it won’t have high side walls and thus is not designed for organized hockey games.

The idea, which won the approval of the Board of Selectmen Monday night, has received mostly positive reviews from town officials. Even neighbors of The Park at Chestnut and Bartlet streets appear to be in favor of it.

“As a neighbor of The Park, I like to see it actively used and enjoyed by all generations,” Nancy Jeton of 57 Chestnut St. said in an email to Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski.

After a brief public hearing, selectmen voted 5-0 in favor of allowing DCS volunteers to work with the town’s Plant and Facilities Department to build the temporary rink.

Former Selectman Ted Teichert, working with local resident Bob Chaves, decided to pursue the rink after speaking with High Street resident Mary Beth Nason, who came up with the idea.

They enlisted the support of DCS Executive Director Mary Montbleau, who was enthusiastic about the idea as well.

“We had one at Rec Park (on High Street) and at the Ballardvale playground,” she said. “It was very popular.”

For one reason or another, those outdoor rinks have disappeared.

Montbleau said the new rink will be built with 8-inch-high lumber and some type of tarp, then filled with water from a nearby fire hydrant. It will be maintained by a corps of volunteer snow shovelers, who can sign up on the DCS Facebook page, she said.

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