Ice rink to close May 5 through June 9 for repairs

Ice rink to close May 5 through June 9 for repairs

SMITHFIELD - Most town residents aren't mourning the arrival of spring and the departure of ice - except for those who use the indoor municipal ice rink, which shortly will lose its skating surface for more than a month.

The rink will shut down from May 5 to June 9 for replacement of the glass-topped side boards surrounding the 85-by 200-foot skating area, and for renewal of the ice, which has been augmented but not totally replaced since 1999. According to Recreation Director T. J. Tullie, the improvements will also include installation of netting over the boards to further assure spectator safety during hockey games.

He said the improvements are being undertaken with Town Council approval under a $175,000 contract with Minnesota-based Becker Arena Products that includes discounts bringing the price closer to $165,500.

Because the rink budget is an "enterprise fund," meaning it operates with money generated from fees, the project will not use tax dollars.

Tullie said the ice surface over the years has developed high spots - its normal thickness is 1 3/4 inches - that have lifted some of the boards, which themselves are 20 years old.

The rink, on Pleasant View Avenue, opened in 1973. It normally operates 355 days a year and last closed for repairs in 2003, when it was shut for eight days.

Tullie said the last day of skating before the impending closure will be Sunday, May 4.

In addition to interscholastic hockey, the rink is used for youth hockey and competitive and recreational skating.

For a number of years the rink served as a training site for skater Marissa Castelli, of Cranston, who competed in this year's Winter Olympics and won a bronze medal in Sochi, Russia.