They’d provide boards and handle maintenance, set-up and take-down, but ask City to provide water needed to flood it

    A group of families living in northeast Crookston are rallying around the idea of, next winter, putting an outdoor hockey/skating rink in Evergreen Park. Mike Enright told the Crookston City Council this week that he would construct the boards that would encircle the rink, which he said would be about half the size (90 feet by 45 feet) of a regulation size hockey surface. Enright asked that the City donate the water needed to flood the rink.

    Understanding that maintaining such an outdoor rink during various snow events is commonly the biggest challenge, Enright said that he and a group of parents are committed to keeping the rink as clear of snow and useable as possible. Others would clear the ice of smaller amounts of snow, and if a major snow event occurs, he said he has a small tractor with a blower attachment that could handle the job.

    “If they’re not maintained people don’t use them,” Enright said. “But with the amount of interest we have and with a little help from the City, we would just like to be able to have the opportunity to try to have a neighborhood rink again.”

    Enright said he lives nearby on Eickhof Boulevard and that several other families with youth hockey players and skaters live near the park as well. Initially, he said, they were interested in putting up three outdoor rinks throughout town, but now they’ve decided to start with one as sort of a pilot project to see how it goes.

    Enright said he and the other families involved would put up the boards and liner and take it all down once the hockey and skating season ends.

    The Parks & Recreation Department put a primitive skating rink with no boards in Wildwood Park this winter, but just as it was rounding into form a string of significant snow events occurred and City crews have been too busy with snow removal duties to clear the Wildwood rink, Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle said.

    Although there’s a fire hydrant near Evergreen Park, Riopelle said the best way to flood a rink is with a City water truck. The only challenge he said he sees in Evergreen Park is the lack of cover, which leads to a lot of wind and a lot of snow. He estimated there are some six-foot drifts in the park currently. Enright said his tractor would be able to handle the “big snows.”

    There is no lighting in Evergreen Park.

    The council and Mayor Guy Martin suggested the Crookston Park Board discuss the matter when they next meet in April.

    While saying he’s not opposed to the idea, Ward 5 Council Member Dale Stainbrook wondered to Enright what might happen if people in other neighborhoods “ask for what you got.”

    “This is a pilot; if it works out well, it might be good to have neighborhoods come together like this and get rinks in their neighborhoods,” Enright responded.

    Ward 4 Council Member Don Cavalier said he’d like to see that. “Maybe every ward could look at the process and maybe we could do one in every ward in the future,” he said.

    Enright noted that he has a backyard rink right now. Ward 3 Council Member Clayton Briggs added that one of his neighbors has one, too, and it’s a “popular place.”