Smithfield brings new ice rink outdoors

Smithfield brings new ice rink outdoors

Not a swimming pool: The town is waiting for cold nights to freeze the water in Smithfield’s first outdoor skating rink. Town Manager Randy Rossi said he hopes this week’s cold nights will do the trick.
Town also buys plenty of equipment for businesses

SMITHFIELD – A new icy amenity is coming to Smithfield in the coming weeks after Town Manager Randy Rossi used funds from the town’s Take It Outside grants to purchase an outdoor ice rink.

Tucked behind the Smithfield Plaza at 115 Pleasant View Ave., the new outdoor rink is positioned closest to the doors of the Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink, 109 Pleasant View Ave., to allow for access to skate rentals.

Rossi said the water in the rink is still freezing to ice, and the facility may not open for some time depending on winter conditions overnight this week. Once the ice is frozen, Rossi said the town will have a better idea of the rink’s hours of operation.

“We’re still kind of working through all the details depending on how much of a response we’re going to get,” he said.

Rossi said the town’s website, www.smithfieldri.com, will have more information on the rink’s opening.

Use of the rink is limited to Smithfield residents, who will enjoy skate rentals and skating free of charge, Rossi said. He said night skating will feature lighting and he hopes to include music to make for “a great night on the town.”

Rossi said the Department of Public Works, the Recreation Department and the Fire Department began setting up the 40-by-80-foot ice rink last Wednesday, and there’s been a buzz around town about what it could be.


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Skating will be limited to 20 to 25 people due to social distancing restrictions, Rossi said.

Smithfield purchased the rink for $4,876 using money from Gov. Gina Raimondo’s second round of Take It Outside grants.

“We thought this was a really good fit because we’re trying to let the residents of Smithfield take it outside. There’s limited space at the rink. We want people to enjoy skating, and for years to come, enjoy a night out on the rink,” Rossi said.

Other locations, such as Deerfield Park, may host the rink in years to come, Rossi said.

In total, Smithfield received $125,000 from the grants, which provided Smithfield businesses, libraries, nonprofit and municipal organizations with supplies to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus.

Rossi and Finance Director Brian Silvia purchased each item from the grant, rather than distributing funding, and prepared delivery to each recipient. He said he only had two weeks from receiving the grant to purchase all equipment and materials.

“It was intense in here. It was a lot of work. It was all worth it as long as we were able to make an impact on our businesses to help (them) to survive this,” he said.

Rossi said the “interesting mix of supplies” included more than 100 outdoor heaters, 4,000 masks, and many tents, sanitizing stations, tables, chairs and sound equipment.

Council President Suzy Alba brought the idea of purchasing an ice rink to Rossi several weeks ago, saying the idea is not an original concept. Over the years, the hockey-loving residents of Smithfield have requested an outdoor ice rink, and Alba said costs may have prevented it from happening.

“We’re excited to be able to bring this to the residents and give them another opportunity to get outside while not having to leave town,” Alba said.

The municipal rink is open for public freestyle skating on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 to 5 p.m., public skating on Tuesday and Friday from noon to 1:30 p.m., and limited to 25 skaters. Public hockey is open on Monday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is limited to 22 skaters. For more information on the indoor rink, visit www.smithfieldri.com/ice-rink/.

FUN FACT: The outdoor ice rink will need a manual Zamboni to clean the ice, which includes scraping off the top layer and adding a fresh layer of ice. Rossi said luckily, the town’s ice experts are next door to figure out how to reach the center of the rink on foot.