December 20, 2006
Ready, set . . . skate!
After weeks of wondering and speculation during a seemingly endless stretch of warm weather, the ice rink in Greenport's Mitchell Park is slated to open for the season today.
Entering its third season, the outdoor ice rink been enthusiastically embraced by village residents and visitors, who are eager for its return.
"My biggest problem has been responding to people who ask, 'When can we skate?'" said Kapell. "It's a sweet problem."
The mayor admitted the balmy temperatures have proven a bit bothersome. "It's been very frustrating to watch the rink sit there, while we're enjoying spring weather." And, he joked, "If we can't use it as an ice rink we'll us it as a swimming pool."
This year, Greenport Recreation Director Linda Ortiz will be managing the rink, and she's hoping to institute some key changes relating to education and flexibility.
"I plan to have our staff really get out there and try to help some of the parents with little ones," she said, adding that the village has purchased some skate aids for kids as well as helmets so they can practice safely.
"We want to really get a lot of kids on the ice," she said. Her plans include an outreach to the Hispanic population and a teen skating session on Saturday nights. If the session proves popular, she hopes to extend the teen program to Wednesday nights.
The rink will be open for private parties and groups before peak hours at the same rates.
The village board voted to double the rink rates on weekends and during holiday periods when attendance is higher — from $5 to $10 for adults and from $3 to $6 for children. Skate rentals will increase from $2 to $4. Old rates will apply Wednesday through Friday to promote attendance.
"We've addressed our need for increased revenue by essentially pricing it according it to demand," said Kapell.
Ortiz said the goal this year is to make the learning experience fun for beginners. She has also scheduled a skating Santa for the holiday week.
Kapell, who skates, said the attraction is a spirit booster for the village. "It adds an element of vitality to the business district and to downtown Greenport at a time of year when it otherwise can be really dreary."
For prices and hours, call 477-2200, ext. 2.