Canton's outdoor ice rink will not be flooded; year-round uses considered

Jan. 20—CANTON — Canton Recreation Director informed the village board of trustees that the outdoor ice rink adjacent to the Canton Recreation Pavilion will not be flooded this year. Instead, the Canton Minor Hockey Board has decided to focus on uses for the space that do not require ice.

The fluctuating winter weather is the cause for the change, Richardson said.

"There is a lot of time and effort that goes into it," Richardson said. "You can put in 30, 40 hours and then you get a rainstorm and it is ruined."

Tim Abplanalp, who was key in raising money to get the rink back in shape recently, said it was a common sense decision.

"Problem number one is Mother Nature," he said. "Last year, the Rideau Canal (in Ottawa) never froze enough for skating, which is the first time in 74 years."

Abplanalp said with the current weather, they would be lucky to get two months of ice on the rink.

"We might be better to concentrate on what we can do with it year-round," he said.

The space could be used for diverse activities that could range from wheelchair lacrosse to farmers markets, he said.

Maintaining a full-sized outdoor rink is a lot of work, Abplanalp said.

Snow clearing alone would be too much work for available volunteers to handle and using a paid employee would stretch already thin budgets.

"You have to get a serious snowblower in there because of the size of it," he said.

Abplanalp said they are working to thank the donors and supporters who helped get the boards back up on the rink after they were vandalized.

"And then we will work on what we can do year-round," he said. "Make it a space where a kid can walk up and grab an old tennis ball and a lacrosse stick and have a good time for an hour or two."

Richardson said that flooding the rink in the future is not off the table. "We just want to switch our focus to get more use out of it."