MADISON — An ice skating rink will open at the site of the former Weston Avenue Elementary School in mid-January, built largely with donated materials and time.

It will replace a smaller, older rink on Thomas Street.

“The plan is to have as large an ice rink as we can make happen,” said Jack Ducharme, vice chairman of the Board of Selectmen. The board approved going ahead with the rink last week.

“We want to make it a place where people can go and have a good time,” Ducharme said.

He said the rink will open in mid-January, weather permitting.

A local business owner who asked to remain anonymous has donated hemlock siding that will be used as the rink’s boards, and Madison Electric is donating lights. The town’s Public Works Department will work this month on installing a hydrant to flood it.

High school students from Madison Area Memorial High School will refurbish and move a small building near the old rink, Ducharme said.

He said the smaller rink didn’t suit the town’s needs.

“It’s a small area and it’s not as big as what we’ll have on Weston Avenue,” Ducharme said. “It’s also tucked up out of the way, so a lot of people don’t know it’s there. And lighting is a problem. Our thought was, let’s move it down into town where kids can walk to it.”

The cost to the town should be minimal. Public works crews will work on building the rink during regular hours and maintenance will be minimal, Ducharme said. In the summer, the area will be a large grassy space for residents to enjoy.

In July, selectmen voted to demolish the old Weston Avenue Elementary School, which they had acquired from School Administrative District 59 in 2013.

The building was an elementary school and then an administrative building for the school district. Its demolition was part of an effort to consolidate the amount of town-owned property and included a decision to demolish a 100-year-old former general store in East Madison.

“We’ve taken a beating for tearing down old buildings, but what we’re trying to do is make Madison a family-friendly community,” Ducharme said. “I think this will help.”

In 2012, the old Madison Junior High School on Main Street was demolished and a playground, funded largely with contributions from the community, was built in its place in 2013.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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