SARATOGA – If all goes as planned, Saratoga children will be gliding across the ice at a new downtown skating rink by this time next winter.
The Platte Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Foundation Kiwanis Club is planning to open a 30-by-50 foot collapsible, portable, outdoor ice rink in the American Legion Post #54 park in the first block of Bridge Street near Lollipops by October or November.
“Our main motivation is to provide an activity for kids in the winter,” Cindy Carnes with the local Kiwanis Club said, adding that planning efforts began in March of 2019.
“I was disappointed that we couldn’t get it done this year, but we are so excited about it now,” Carnes said. “We wanted a place that is close, downtown, and maybe somewhere families can go skating, then downtown and out to eat or for hot chocolate.”
After searching for a location for a few months, Kiwanis approached the American Legion about their downtown park. The Legion agreed to donate its space free of charge.
“It’s a community effort to get a place for kids to go ice skating,” Deborah Clark, American Legion Post #54 adjutant, said.
The ice rink will be located behind the veteran’s memorial, which will remain in place.
“It’s perfect, because it’s out of the wind, it’s completely fenced and public restrooms are very close,” Carnes said.
Kiwanis will be responsible for maintenance and plans signage for the park. The planning committee, which includes four Kiwanis members, will approach Kiwanis membership about purchasing the rink at the February meeting, Carnes said.
“We need it to be really cold, but once we fill it, and once it is below 32 degrees, it will stay frozen,” Carnes said, adding that volunteers will have to keep the rink shoveled.
The goal is to host a grand opening on or around Small Business Saturday Nov. 28 of this year, with the hope of hosting a children’s Christmas event with decorations and refreshments next winter.
The rink will be skate at your own risk and open to families at any time.
“We don’t want to lock it up, and we are going to have lots of signage. Our main reason for wanting to do it is so that anybody can use it at any time” within reason and safely, Carnes said.
There will be access from Bridge Street or behind the Wolf, and Kiwanis is working on securing parking in the area. Bridge Street Bargains has donated skates to the effort, but skaters will be encouraged to bring their own equipment to the rink. The Platte Valley Jaycees has offered manpower to set up and take down the rink, but Kiwanis will be open to any volunteer help available.
“Anyone interested in helping with the effort can contact Kiwanis. We have a meeting once a month, and we would love to have help,” Carnes said.