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Tupper Lake looks into outdoor skating rink

December 20, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - Village officials are renewing an effort to find out what it would take to open an outdoor skating rink at the Municipal Park's ball field this winter.

At a Monday night village board meeting, trustees talked about how to put a warming shack there.

Village Department of Public Works Superintendent Mike Sparks said he got some quotes for renting a heated trailer, and "They're kind of pricey." The rental would be for about three months, and the cheapest option is about $6,000, he said.

David "Haji" Maroun, who talked about opening an outdoor skating rink as one of his goals when he ran a successful campaign for a trustee seat this fall, asked if it would be possible to drop that price down by getting rid of some of the add-ons like floor mats and accessibility for people with handicaps.

Sparks said those add-ons are necessary. Village Clerk Mary Casagrain noted that any facility the village operates would need to meet building codes and be handicap accessible.

Trustee Rick Donah has also been looking into the issue, finding out how other communities like Saranac Lake and Long Lake run their outdoor skating rinks.

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Donah asked Ron LaScala, who ran an unsuccessful trustee campaign this fall, to talk about the idea to his boss, Tom Hyde, who helps run the outdoor skating rink in Saranac Lake. LaScala, who was at Monday's board meeting, said Hyde suggested the village build its own warming hut rather than spending $6,000 to rent one.

The Saranac Lake outdoor skating rink next to the civic center has a small warming hut, but LaScala said it doesn't get used often. He said mothers usually warm up their cars for their children.

Trustee Tom Snyder suggested asking the Woodsmen's Association, which runs the Tupper Lake Woodsmen Days at the park every year, if it has a hut that could be put to such a use.

Hope Frenette, a member of the public who was at Monday's meeting, suggested that many ski areas like Whiteface use yurts, which are like fancy tents that can be heated but can easily be removed. Sparks suggested buying an Amish structure, which is a type of wooden shed.

In January 2011, the town and village discussed the idea of starting a skating rink at the Municipal Park when the fire department was planning to have a broomball tournament there. The fire department and town Supervisor Roger Amell kept the skating rink maintained for the rest of that winter, but not many people used it, said town Youth Activities Director Mike Fritts.

"It didn't seem to really catch a lot of attention," Fritts said.

He said any time he went there, there were only a few people skating.

At Monday's board meeting, Sparks didn't sound optimistic about the idea of opening an outdoor skating rink.

"We never really had a lot of luck with them," he said.

He said there won't be ice until the lake freezes.

"We'll continue to look into how we can do it," Donah said.



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