November 26, 2001 11:00 pm
WINTER FUN: Ice skating enthusiasts will have an option in addition to Wallowa Lake if plans for an Enterprise rink come together. (File photo).
WINTER FUN: Ice skating enthusiasts will have an option in addition to Wallowa Lake if plans for an Enterprise rink come together. (File photo).

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE A group hopes to have a skating rink in Enterprise by mid-December.

In presenting the idea to organizations over the past two weeks, $1,200 has been raised to construct a temporary rink. Now, the most expensive component, the liner, can be ordered.

Im amazed at the response, said Wendy Hansen of the Enterprise Hometown Improvement Group. This proposal came from the community. Our group is facilitating it.

The kit type rink will be a pilot project to test the waters to see if there is enough public support for a permanent rink.

One vision is to have a covered, refrigerated rink that could serve a dual purpose for other activities during the summer, such as basketball or skateboarding.

When the idea was presented at a recent Enterprise City Council meeting, the council gave its full support, Hansen said. Space for this winters temporary rink will be provided at the south end of the city park by the fence bordering the river. The rink is planned to be 70 by 140 feet. Lighting is planned, so that it can be used in the evenings. A divider can separate hockey games from other skating.

The Wallowa County Mental Health Center donated $600 for the project Monday. Other contributors include the Wallowa County Rotary Club, Wildflour Bakery, the Hometown group, and the Enterprise Ehs hockey team of the Baja Canada League.

If support continues to grow, a part-time rink manager will be hired to organize events and maintenance such as fencing to keep critters out when the rink is flooded to resurface the ice.

The rink will provide a needed winter recreation opportunity for youth, adults and families, promoters said. Non-skating family members can play in the park or slide down the little bank there. The rink can also be a gathering place for winter community celebrations and events. It could also be a safe forum for community sports events and ice-sports education, Hansen said.

People now skate at various private locations when conditions are ideal, but that may be only a few days per season. Occasionally people skate at Kinney and Wallowa lakes.

A maintained rink would not only provide a longer skating season and a better ice surface but it would also eliminate the potential danger of skating over deep water.

People are invited to participate at all levels of this project, Hansen said.

Materials are needed such as shovels, push brooms, straw bales, plywood, lumber, hardware and even duct tape to make a frame for the liner.

To participate, volunteer, or make a tax-deductible donation, contact Susan Gilstrap, Enterprise Hometown Improvement Group, 13 1/2 E. Main St., P.O. Box 91, Enterprise 97828.

She also can be reached at 541-426-0219, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it