November 9, 2013 01:30AM
By Dan Brechlin
MERIDEN — Workers poured concrete and smoothed out the new base of the City Park ice skating rink Friday. The rink is part of a $500,000-plus project to redevelop the city’s oldest park.
“We expect things to continue to move really quick,” said Parks and Recreation Director Mark Zebora.
Among the new amenities is the ice rink which is expected to be ready for use this winter, Zebora said. Though Zebora said the temporary rink that had been set up at the Meriden Hub was well used, he said there issues with it.
“It did not work very well for a variety of reasons,” he said. “It was in the sun all of the time so the ice would melt. .. .This one (in City Park) is shielded by the highway so it’s pretty much out of the sun the entire day.”
The other issue about ice skating in the city, Zebora said, is that the lakes and ponds do not freeze as they used to. Skating typically requires four to six inches of clear ice, he said. With a permanent structure, Zebora said there are no safety concerns about thin ice, either.
Another benefit of the concrete structure as opposed to the portable one, Zebora said, is the ease of draining the melted ice after the season.
With plugs installed toward the center of the rink, all the Parks Department will have to do is pull the plugs in order to drain the water into the ground.
The ice skating rink is paid for through a $25,000 grant from the John D. Martin Foundation. The City Council paid $3,500 for the temporary ice rink with businesses pitching in the balance of the $10,000 purchase price. The rink will not be set up at the Hub this year due to a redevelopment project that will turn the vacant property into a park.
A basketball court is also in the works at City Park with the first coat of asphalt laid down earlier this week. Had there not been rain Thursday, the final coat would have been applied Friday, Zebora said. He now expects the paving to be complete early next week.
Workers began installing sidewalks in the park this week and they will run throughout the park and around the perimeter, Zebora added.
YB Paving of Seymour is the general contractor for the project, having submitted a low base bid of $168,551. Renovations at City Park are also expected to include a parking area, electrical conduits, volleyball courts, and further improvements.