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Noah Windley, 11, thought the Frozen Fire Ice Rink at Digger Field looked small when he saw it on television. But, while skating on Dec. 18, he said, "Now that I see it, it looks pretty big." Noah …
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Noah Windley, 11, thought the Frozen Fire Ice Rink at Digger Field looked small when he saw it on television. But, while skating on Dec. 18, he said, "Now that I see it, it looks pretty big."
Noah and three other Kidz Korner participants were among the first to experience Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District's rink earlier this month. District staff hosted a trial run on Dec. 18, a soft opening the next day, and a grand opening on Saturday.
The rink is open daily from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is $7 with skate rentals costing $3. For more information, visit www.clearcreekrecreation.com/ccrecd/ice-rink.html.
The district rented the rink to diversify programming, bring in additional revenues during COVID-19 restrictions, and offer new amenities for the community, according to CCMRD staff. Because the surface is synthetic ice, the district will use it through at least April.
Not only was Dec. 18 a big day for CCMRD, but also for the four Kidz Korner participants who were ice skating for the first time.
"It's pretty fun," Nick Perrone, 7, said.
Jake Crumpton, 8, said he was planning to ask his grandparents to bring him back to the rink so he could skate again.
Like his friends, Caleb Berg, 6, was primarily holding the sides at the beginning of the hour, but by the end, he was comfortable skating into the middle of the rink.
Rose Morris, director of the district's Kidz Korner program, had the boys wear helmets because she expected a lot of hard falls. While the boys did have their share of stumbles, they seemed to bounce right back up, she pointed out.
"(The synthetic surface) doesn't seem to cause as many injuries as real ice," she continued. "I haven't seen a tear yet."
Morris also noticed a difference in her own skating, saying she normally falls a lot on real ice but was having a better time on the district's rink.
"I think it's a great thing," she said. "Families will enjoy it a lot."
She added that Kidz Korner was planning to return to the rink this week during its winter break programming.
As the kids were finishing up, Noah said he was having a great time, and he thought Idaho Springs should have a roller-skating rink now, too.
A long-term possibility
While CCMRD has no plans for a roller-skating rink, the ice-skating one could be around longer than just April.
The district has a 120-day rental with the option to buy and expand the rink, General Manager Cameron Marlin said. The rental, including staff time and equipment, cost about $70,000. To buy the current 65-foot-by-32-foot rink would be another $50,000, and as of Dec. 21, the district hadn't received a quote on how much buying a slightly larger one would cost.
Marlin and Samantha Dhyne, the district's project lead, said they anticipate bringing a proposal to buy a rink to the CCMRD board of directors in January. The district has until Jan. 18 to apply 100% of the rental price toward purchase. After that, the percentage will decrease incrementally, Marlin said.
If it did buy a rink, CCMRD would host it to the Shelly/Quinn Ballfields now that the school district has sold Golddigger Stadium.
Even without purchasing it, CCMRD staff anticipates renting the rink will turn a profit between donations, ticket sales and skate-sharpening revenues. Even before the Dec. 18 trial run, the district had received $25,000 in monetary donations, $6,000 in donated services and $1,000 in ticket sales, Dhyne explained.
Additionally, Dhyne said the district will offer hockey, broomball and other programming on the rink starting in January. Marlin commented that Mountain Youth Network has suggested a mixed-ages hockey tournament in February.
Ultimately, Dhyne said that while staff is excited about the prospect of having an ice-skating rink long-term, there are still a lot of details to work through.
"Should we run this year-round?" Dhyne asked. "It will be pretty unique. We have a good plan, but it is a new project for us."
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