Parks and Recreation Director Sean Driscoll said this week that preparations are underway to allow an unofficial opening or “dry run” at Larsen Rink this weekend, either Friday or Saturday, September 17 or 18, with the planned official opening of the rink slated for next Monday, September 20.
“We’re a little bit ahead of where we have been, in terms of opening the last few years, but probably right about where we should be historically,” said Driscoll. “We’re working under the second year of that temporary fix to the floor that was made last year and that is holding up well, so unless there are some unforeseen problems, we are making ice and should be ready to go this weekend.”
Driscoll noted that the biggest benefit will be to the regular users of the rink, such as the youth hockey and skating programs, which in the past two years have had to begin their seasons at other area rinks and return to Winthrop in November.
“When we started the renovations to the rink the plan was to be able to offer year round programs, and because of the on-going litigation with the contractor, we’re not there yet,” said Driscoll. “But we are looking forward to a good, full season this year and are planning the full range of tournaments and special events that we’ve been able to offer in the last couple of years.”
The town, through the attorneys, is also looking for a way to offer some semblance of seating or grandstands at the rink by early January, and will look to offer at least a temporary concession stand for major events.
“We have the plans all drawn up for a permanent concession stand and we know where it will go, but all of those kinds of efforts are really pending until the litigation is cleared up,” he said. “My hope is that we’ll be able to reach an agreement with the contractor later this year and be able to do the permanent repair and some of the other programmatic changes we’ve been talking about over the summer.”