Resident pitches ice rink to city council

Thursday, November 5, 2020
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A Stillwater resident has done the research to bring an ice skating rink to Columbus.

In the winters, Brad Kimble has enjoyed some short-lived skating at Granite Peak Park in Columbus. The ice there is weather permitting, “God’s ice,” Kimble called it, and melts sometimes by mid-February.

“The problem with the skating area has been an inconsistent ice surface due to mud and debris and dark ground surface as a whole. Anything dark, on or near the ice, absorbs heat and melts the ice,” Kimble told the Columbus City Council on Monday night.

Kimble presented his pitch to the council for an at-home ice rink kit that would create a longer and safer skating season for Stillwater residents.

Kimble suggested purchasing from NiceRink, a company that has been in business since 1991. The kit comes with all the parts and pieces needed to set up a skating area, including boards and a white liner that will help keep the ice frozen for longer.

The rink will be set up in the same area in Granite Peak Park as the ground there is already level.

The initial price estimates ranged from $2,800 to $3,000 for a 44-by-88 foot kit. The kit includes boards that click together, meaning it can easily be expanded.

The model is the same as the Red Lodge ice rink, which has been built upon every year and will continue to expand this season.

Triangle supports underneath each board lift the platform protecting it from warm ground temperatures.

The liner is a key element in protecting the boards from debris, but Kimble said the rink would need a replacement every two to three years and costs around $200 to $300.

The prices are vague at this point and City Clerk Kisha Miller asked Kimble to bring a written estimate to the next meeting.

The rink also requires 9,000 gallons of water for six-inches of ice, a maintenance crew, a makeshift ice resurfacer and storage during the off-season.

Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger said that his crew could easily haul water to the rink every year. “That would only be about three trips,” Cowger said.

Historically, skaters have taken to the river channel near town. But due to changes in the river flow, Kimble isn’t sure the channel will be viable for much longer.

“Additionally, the ice is a challenge to maintain and can be very inconsistent. The Nice Rink rink will provide an ice surface that is easier to maintain and obviously safer for skaters. The white liner material will enable us to keep the ice longer as well,” Kimble said.