With the Winter Olympics in full swing, skating enthusiasts in and around Rolla have an opportunity to test their ice skating abilities.
Plans to flood a skating rink in Rolla began last month at a regular city council meeting. Rolla resident Becky Albert attended a meeting and visited with the council about possibly having an ice rink in Rolla. Albert indicated money was available from a Horizon fund and inquired if that could be used to help fund the endeavor.
The council agreed to use $5,900 from the fund and plans were finalized with members of the Rolla Park Board.
Park Board member Brock Mitchell helped get the ball rolling and made some contacts. Albert suggested the city look into something called EZ Ice, which is described as an ice rink that can be made on any surface with no tools in a relatively short amount of time.
“I wanted an ice rink and my son-in-law sent me a picture of this ice rink and it looked like something the city could maybe do,” Albert said.
After the funding was secured and the rink was purchased, the next step was finding a location. Albert said it has been at least five years since the city had a skating rink of any kind. The last one was located along Main Street, which Albert described as an ideal spot.
“It was the perfect place because people could drop off their children or whoever wanted to skate and others could go and do some shopping,” she said.
Mitchell said the park board looked around for various spots, including a smaller square located behind the former Mercantile building, but ultimately decided to have it in the city park, at least for this winter.
With that, snow was removed last week and members of the board began assembling the structure. The 40’ by 80’ rink was first flooded on Wednesday with help from the Rolla Volunteer Fire Department.
Park Board member Cal Anderson said another layer was added a few days later, and then it was up for skaters to find and dust off their blades.
Mitchell added if the rink turns into a hot spot, more could be done in the future to enhance the experience.
“If it goes well and gets off the ground maybe we could find a more permanent location and find some funds for a warming shack, too,” Mitchell said. “We are looking for more for people to do through the year and this provides an option that they didn’t have before.”