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An ‘ice’ time to unveil new Riverhead skating rink

Town Councilman George Gabrielsen discusses the new, low-cost�ice rink in Riverhead. Videojournalist: Randee Daddona (Jan. 24, 2013)

The ongoing cold snap is good news for Riverhead Town’s recreation department, which has been waiting for a year to open its new ice rink in Stotzky Park.

“We had it up for three months” last winter, said Ray Coyne, Riverhead superintendent of recreation. “It never froze.”

The 68-by-160-foot rink is flooded with water to a depth of six inches, and is designed to freeze naturally. But, it had not gotten got cold enough for long enough for the water to freeze deeply enough for skating.

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Until Thursday.

Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen brought his wife, Janice, and daughter, Georgia, with him for a brief, chilly ribbon-cutting ceremony, and they were out on the ice even before the town board members could gather behind a ribbon, cutting smooth curving ruts into the perfectly smooth surface.

Coyne said that after the water froze earlier this week, Riverhead’s volunteer firemen hooked up a hose to a hydrant, which had enough water pressure to spread out a smooth top coat to the ice.

The rink, which is near the town skateboard park, will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Coyne said it will be available for open skating, with just one rule — no ice hockey.

“The ice is great,” Georgia, 27, said.

The ice rink, which can be taken down and reassembled, cost $4,800, paid for through recreation fees charged to developers, according to Councilman John Dunleavy.

Tags: Riverhead , new , skating , rink

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