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New Fort Fairfield ice rink to open soon for skating enthusiasts

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — After five years of not having a community ice skating rink, the Fort Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department will soon provide an opportunity for folks to enjoy the fun winter activity again.

In the coming weeks, the parks and recreation department will create an 80-foot rink that will be located adjacent to the Fort Fairfield Town Office on 18 Community Center Drive, on the same land where children play basketball in the summer. 

The rink will be free, open to the public 24/7 and have a small warming hut open on-site during select hours. The parks and recreation department plans to open the rink on Thursday, Dec. 26, in time for the local schools’ Christmas breaks.

Fort Fairfield Parks and Recreation director Kevin Senal said that the former ice skating rink shuttered due to costs associated with refilling the rink with water after warmer days when the ice would melt. The department has purchased a different system that holds water inside and prevents defrost.

Senal noted that the new water system will save the town in annual operating costs — $3,000 compared to the $4,000 with the former water system. Recently, he and town officials have agreed that the benefits of having a rink in their community offsets the financial costs.

“There have been a lot of citizens who have wanted us to bring the rink back,” Senal said on Dec. 2. “Ice skating is something that entire families can do together during the winter.”

Additionally, there are plans to make the ice skating rink part of the town’s revived winter carnival that will happen on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Senal and town officials have been discussing what events they might hold during the carnival, which has not occurred since the early 1990s.

Senal hopes that children and families will take advantage of the new ice skating rink, as well as the regular winter programming such as indoor basketball, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 

“The more activities we can offer for our community, the better off we’ll be,” Senal said.

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