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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely skaters ready for ice; outdoor rink now open

Keith Vandervort
Posted 12/16/20

ELY – While indoor sports and team activities remain on hold because of public health concerns due to the coronavirus, flooding of the city-owned ice-skating rink has been ongoing for the past …

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Ely skaters ready for ice; outdoor rink now open

Posted

ELY – While indoor sports and team activities remain on hold because of public health concerns due to the coronavirus, flooding of the city-owned ice-skating rink has been ongoing for the past two weeks and city residents are sharpening their skates, locating their hats and mittens, and beginning to enjoy a popular outdoor winter activity.
So many Elyites are looking forward to participating in a “normal” activity outside of the house, that the city council here addressed the issue at the beginning of the month in anticipation of calls for the skating season to begin.
Mother Nature provided her own skating rinks this year on nearby lakes as the relative lack of snow left the ice mostly bare until some light snow earlier this week. And area residents have been taking advantage to spend time outdoors with friends and family.
Flooding of the ice rink, located at the city’s Recreation Center, began about two weeks ago.
“Typically, by the end of November, temperatures are such that we can begin flooding the rink, said Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski. “If there is not adequate ice on lakes for people to walk on, obviously, we can’t make ice on the ground.”
Langowski said the city hired two college students to build up the ice sheet. They were putting the finishing layers of water down last weekend. “We like to have the rink ready by winter break,” Langowski said, “This year, with all the kids already at home (for distance learning), we did our best to get the ice ready as soon as we could. As long as the temperatures remain below freezing at night, we will continue to flood.”
Parents need to plan ahead and be prepared to meet their family’s warming needs (e.g. proper gear, using the vehicle as a warming station etc.), as the current COVID-19 executive order requires the warming area be closed.
“The (indoor) bathroom facilities will be available, but people will not be able to congregate within the warming facility,” Langowski said. “The bathrooms will be sanitized following CDC guidelines. Chairs will be provided for skaters to put on their skates. The current guidelines are set to expire or be extended by Dec. 18.”
Langowski said the city is looking for additional rink attendants. “It sounds like, according to all the Facebook posts, there are many people who could consider volunteering to do this.”
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, all indoor recreational facilities, including the school gymnasium and indoor ice arena, along with fitness centers, are closed.

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