WINSLOW — The boards are up. The ice is frozen. Now all the Winslow community skating rink needs is some folks to strap on skates and start gliding.

Winslow Parks and Recreation started the public rink three years ago, inspired by similar outdoor rinks at the South End Arena and the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville.

Since then, the rink has grown in size, and organizers are trying to stimulate more public interest in the resource.

This year, the rink is 56 feet by 80 feet, and it took seven 3,000-gallon loads of water from the Winslow Fire Department to fill it, said Town Councilor Ray Caron, who helped organize the rink.

The rink, on Daniels Street between Winslow High School and Junior High, is open seven days a week until 7 p.m. and is free to the public.

Because of unseasonably warm weather, assembling and filing the rink happened late this year. The Fire Department didn’t start trucking in water until recently, and the rink opens to the public Saturday. Winslow High School students Jacob Trash, Jake Dracus and Luke Fredette helped blow snow out of the rink area, set up boards, lay down lining and flood the rink.


The town initially thought of the rink as a way to promote outdoor exercise, even in the cold depths of winter, Caron said.

“It gets kids outside, away from video games and phones,” he said.

It also gives people a free alternative to places such as Sukee Ice Arena on Verti Drive that have limited opportunity for public skating and charge an entrance fee, Caron said.

“We’re not trying to compete with Sukee. We want to encourage skating and outdoor activities,” Caron said.

But interest in outdoor skating totally depends on the weather. For example, the numbing cold last winter made spending a lot of time there unattractive, and the heavy snowfall made it difficult to clear off and maintain the ice, Caron said.

“It’s been attended OK, but all of it is so weather-dependent,” Caron said. The ideal temperatures are 20 to 35 degrees, he added.


The weather has been a factor at other outdoor rinks so far this winter, too, for instance in Augusta. Leif Dahlin, the city’s community services director, said that city’s rink is on hold until the weather gets more consistently cold.

“You need Mother Nature to cooperate in order to get a rink in,” Dahilin said Thursday.

The city maintains a rink at Mill Park, but Dahlin said it hasn’t been cold enough to consider getting it ready for skating. And with heavy rain and temperatures in the 40s predicted for Sunday, he’s not optimistic he’ll have the right conditions anytime soon.

Dahlin described natural outdoor rinks as “one of the trickiest parts of my business.”

In Winslow, organizers hope to attract more people this year by holding events at the rink, including a hockey tournament during the February school break.

Jim Bourgoin, Winslow’s parks and recreation director, said people appreciate the opportunity to have a public place where they can get out to have fun once and a while.


“I think in winter, people feel trapped. It’s a relief from cabin fever,” he said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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