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Portage ponders portable ice rink to combat natural weather obstacles, maintain safety
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Portage ponders portable ice rink to combat natural weather obstacles, maintain safety

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Members of the Park and Recreation Board discussed Tuesday how the city of Portage could more effectively create space for those looking to ice skate during winter months.

Parks Manager Toby Monogue said he is considering how to possibly create a seasonal temporary rink instead of relying on the cold weather to make the ice at Pauquette Park thick enough to safely hold both skaters and parks department staff who have to clear it of snow.

“We need that to freeze up a little bit more before we’re able to do some clearing and get that ice rink into a position where we feel it’s safe to advertise ice skating out on the Pauquette pond,” Monogue said.

As of Monday, Monogue said that the ice at the pond was roughly 4.5 inches thick, which would likely be safe for skaters to use. The problem was that in order to remove snow from the ice with Bobcat equipment would require at least 8 inches of ice.

Members discussed the possibility of a portable rink during their December meeting.

Member Mike Charles and others said they had seen posts on social media encouraging hopeful skaters to violate the signs posted at Pauquette calling on people to stay off the ice in the name of safety.

“That’s my main goal for that portable rink,” Charles said. “You can’t fall through the ice that’s on the ground.”

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Charles said he wants to see a more reliable option for residents to enjoy winter sports on the ice and supports figuring out how to make skating more easily accessible.

One option would be to purchase a portable ice rink kit, Monogue said, but it likely wouldn’t happen until the fall when parks staff can budget the cost. They could potentially look into whether they have the funds in the parks donation account, he added.

“I believe we need $3,000 to $5,000 to do this right,” Monogue said.

The rink could be installed in Goodyear Park, he added. In researching manmade, temporary skating rinks, Monogue said he spoke with officials from both Sun Prairie and Poynette. Both purchased kits that allow for easy installation of a rink, though the price tags varied from $3,000 to $6,800.

The use of a kit would eliminate issues over uneven ground and make it simple to put a sheet of ice down for use during the winter.

It would also eliminate the concern over users going through thin ice, Charles said.

“That’s my push on that,” Charles said. “It’s a good safe place where they can go and skate as long as the temperature is at least freezing.”

Follow Bridget on Twitter @cookebridget or contact her at 608-745-3513.

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