CLINTON — A steamy layer rose over water that flooded the Clinton Parks & Recreation Ice Skating Rink at Old Mill Park.

Some of the town’s leaders and community members who helped with setup gathered around a town fire truck as 120,000 gallons of water gushed from a nozzle at the rear of the truck. Others pulled a white liner that stretched across the 40-by-120-foot skate surface as rink Superintendent Jeff Pierce stepped through the water with the foam snow brush he’d use to squeegee air bubbles out from beneath the liner. The brightly-lit headlamp stretched over his stocking cap would light the way.

The free rink has been staged at the park for about five years, according to Pierce, who is also co-director of Clinton’s Parks & Recreation.

A crew of about 15 “rink warriors” were part of the effort, said Pierce. Freezing cold hardened the ice, making way for skaters of all abilities to show up on the rink’s opening day, which came this past Sunday as visitors flocked to the ice.

“We do this every year and it honestly makes the community come together,” said Parks & Rec Board Director Anthony Barton.

Located on 1211 Main St., the Old Mill Park is home to the ice rink that is about 30 feet longer than the ice rinks in the past, Barton said.


The association lays out a new sheet of ice each year ahead of the season and fills up the rink with 120,000 gallons of water, he said. “We were able to put the plastic down and water down all in one night,” said Barton. And then three days later, we were able to open on Sunday.”

The total cost for the ice rink ranges between $1,000-$1,400, depending upon the condition of the wooden frame and the ice sheet, said Jeff Pierce, a member of the Parks & Recreation Board.

Clinton Parks & Rec Co-Director Anthony Barton, center, and others prepare a plastic liner while setting up the ice skating rink at Old Mill Park in Clinton on Wednesday night, Jan. 17. The group flooded the 40-by-120-foot rink with 120,000 gallons of water. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Pierce, who has been a board member for almost 15 years, said he has been setting up an ice rink every year for the community.

“It initially started when my son was in high school and played ice hockey,” Pierce said. “Then I started laying out the framework for a community ice rink each year.”

Pierce said the amount of support from the town’s government and the police and fire departments has been significant.

“The fire department helped us fill the ice rink with gallons of water and are always ready to help out,” he said. “The police department is always patrolling around the area to ensure maximum security.”


Kassie Brown, left, and her sons Logan MacArthur, 11, center, and Owen MacArthur, 9, warm themselves by a fire while taking part in the opening day of skating at the Clinton Parks & Recreation Ice Skating Rink at Old Mill Park in Clinton on Sunday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Through fundraising, Pierce said, the Parks & Rec board was able to install security cameras around the park.

Free skates are available at the park for those who need them, with an option to drop off old skates that are not in use.

Residents can follow the town’s Parks & Recreation official Facebook page to stay up to date with the schedule.

Plans to install a catalytic firepit at the ice rink area are in the works, Pierce said, and a family skate night and a bonfire are among other plans.

“People like to stand by the fire when a meeting is going on,” he said. “It would be nice to have people stay warm and chat on a cold night.”

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