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New ice rink on thin ice in Carbondale

Lynn BurtonStaff Writer

A new ice rink in Carbondale got the cold shoulder from the Parks and Recreation Commission recently, but that doesn’t mean prospects for the facility have melted away.An ice rink on the 33-acre Delaney property was one of 25 possible uses suggested during citizen input sessions earlier this year.The Parks and Recreation Commission didn’t include the rink in any of the four designs it finally considered, although a rink could be put in at a later date.”We’ve got 33 acres,” said John McCarty of the land planning firm Otak. “We could work it in.”The Board of Trustees will discuss the Delaney property designs at 7 p.m. tonight.McCarty and Otak drafted four designs for the Delaney property, located on bottomland northeast of Town Hall. Approximately half the property is wetlands, which would be difficult to develop, so passive uses such as walking trails were often mentioned on citizen surveys.The Parks and Recreation Commission was evenly divided between Option A and Option B. Both options include restrooms, an amphitheater, trails and a pond. The biggest difference is that Option B also includes full size overlapping football, soccer and baseball fields, and a junior size baseball field.Carbondale already operates an outdoor ice rink at the rodeo grounds east of town each winter. McCarty said a Delaney property ice rink ranked in the upper 30 percent of the proposed uses early input process, but support waned as the project continued.”People viewed it as the rodeo grounds are working pretty well,” McCarty said.An ice rink at the Delaney property also had a couple of strikes against it. For one, access to the property is down a steep grade, which could create slippery problems in the winter. Also, the best placement would be in the shade at the base of the bluff that overlooks the property. There are a lot of trees on the bluff, which could continue to shed their leaves on the ice through the winter.”In the end, the ice rink didn’t get a lot of support,” McCarty said.Then along came Bob Ezra.Ezra, a 53-year-old hockey player who has helped maintain the rodeo grounds ice rink, wrote a letter to the trustees explaining why a rink should be put back into the Delaney property hopper.Ezra’s ice rink vision calls for a phased project that would start like the rodeo grounds facility, where a plastic liner is placed on the ground and the area is flooded. At the Delaney property in years to come, a refrigerated system could be installed to create reliable ice, and a roof could be built to keep the ice from melting.”As an amenity for the town, I don’t think we could do much better,” Ezra’s letter said. “Please, please, please don’t miss this opportunity and re-open the ice rink discussion.”Ezra met with McCarty to explain his ideas after learning the four Delaney property options didn’t include an ice rink.”Bob has a grander level of ice rink than we talked about,” McCarty said. “He had some compelling points.”If the rink had a cover to keep the sun from hitting the ice, its placement on the property wouldn’t be restricted to shaded areas.”So with all that, his idea starts to make sense,” McCarty said.Carol Farris, the Parks and Recreation Commission chairperson, said she supported a Delaney property ice rink, and was disappointed when it wasn’t included. She speculated a $2 million price tag might have had something to do with the commission’s decision not to include the rink.”That’s a big-ticket item,” Farris said.Other agenda items to be discussed at the July 16 Board of Trustees meeting include:-A request from the Mount Sopris Condominium Association to have booths in its parking lot across from Sopris Park during Mountain Fair.-Continued discussion, if necessary, on an intergovernmental agreement between the town and the Roaring Fork Re-1 School District concerning the North Face property purchase.


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