Ice rink gets $3,000 grant from lottery

By Katy Nesbitt, The Observer June 06, 2012 02:38 pm

Winter is slowly being ushered out of Northeastern Oregon, a good time to plan for next year’s cold weather activities.

The Wallowa Valley Community Ice Rink has big plans to build a new rink, while working to maintain the current facility.

In Monday’s Wallowa County Board of Commissioners meeting, the rink received a $3,000 grant from the state’s video lottery proceeds to help fund the conceptual design for a new facility. Mike Hansen of the ice rink development sub-committee said he estimates a total of $15,000 will be needed to pay for the architectural drawings.

The current ice rink site is not level, which has always caused problems, said Hansen, so the hope is to build a new one in the Enterprise City Park.

The rink would have a roof to shield the ice from the sun, creating a longer season. The open-air cover would also keep snow off of the ice and reduce maintenance needed to scrape it off.

Hansen said the cover would be open on at least two sides, providing a view of the mountains, while improving the ice condition.

The new rink would have a concrete slab so in the off-months other recreational activities could occur like basketball, soccer, and inline skating. Hansen said the committee also envisions the slab being used for concerts, farmers markets, weddings and parties.

Hansen said ideally the rink would have restrooms, changing rooms, and a heated viewing area, as well.

Several grant making foundations have been identified and Hansen said he has four grant applications to send off, with a long list of other potential funders. The City of Enterprise is a regular supporter of the rink.

Improvements scheduled for next year include new lights and replacing rotting boards that make up the rink’s exterior.

The committee recently received a grant for $5,000 from the Wildhorse Foundation they will use for this work.

The rink has been in operation for 11 years, is open and free to the public, and has dozens of supporters who help erect and break it down each year. Adult and youth league hockey attracts many participants as well as figure and recreation skaters.

Hansen said the rink is getting increased use from people out of the county and with an improved facility the committee will host hockey tournaments, attracting teams from around the region.

The rink is erected each fall and usually operational from December through February, depending on winter conditions.

To donate to the rink or volunteer, call 541-263-0715.