Greenport: Ice skating rink staying open despite warm temps

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The sun beats down Tuesday afternoon on the ice skating rink at Mitchell Park in Greenport Village. Officials say they've been forced to close the rink on warm days this winter.

Greenport Village officials said the village’s ice skating rink was closed twice this season due to warm weather: once last weekend and again on Monday.

But there is no plan to reduce its hours of operation and the rink will only close when it rains or when warm weather turns the rink into a pond.

Weather permitting, the rink is open Monday, 3 to 6 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 3 to 5 p.m.; Friday, 3 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“It’s been a huge, huge struggle,” said rink manager Mike Ryan in an interview last week. “Temperatures have approached the high 50s, it seems like every day now.”

Village administrator David Abatelli said at Monday’s work session that it costs the village $8,000 per month to keep the rink frozen.

The rink has its own refrigeration system, but it does rely on Mother Nature to keep the surface skateable.

“A lot of people are under the misconception that we just use a hose to flood the rink and freeze the water, but that’s not the way it’s done,” he said. “It has to be sprayed layer by layer and you need a few consistent days of cold weather to do it.”

It takes about 20 layers of sprayed water at about an hour per layer to lay a one-inch sheet of ice on the rink, Mr. Ryan said of the process, which can usually only be done at night. When a sunny day follows, the layers can start to melt.

Meanwhile, Riverhead officials are expecting to start construction on the town’s temporary ice rink in Stotzky Park on Thursday. That rink is not artificially cooled and instead is filled with water and relies on Mother Nature to help keep temperatures to the below-freezing mark.

Gianna Volpe and Beth Young contributed reporting. Read more village news in Thursday’s paper.

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