Friends of the Pelham Ice Garden,
Can you believe it has been 5 years since the grand opening of our community ice rink? Five years is a long time and this project has been a labor of love for us all.
In the inaugural season, through private fundraising effort, the Ice Garden had over 25 companies and families make donations to fund the purchase of an ice rink kit and equipment needed to maintain a 100' x 50' ice surface. In addition, we had 12+ volunteers who were committed to maintaining the ice & clearing snow on a daily/basis.
Over the years, several outdoor community events were hosted at the Ice Garden including WinterFest and the annual Pelham Police vs Pelham Fire Department charity hockey game. An Adult Pond Hockey league was founded. Teenagers would play pond hockey after school. Some teenage couples had their "first date" at the Ice Garden. Parents & Grandparents would bring their kids to the rink on weekend mornings. And many, many children slipped on their first pair of skates at the Pelham Ice Garden.
The rink was then moved the rink onto the basketball courts in 2010 which made it easier to build the rink, easier for the patrons to access the rink, but more challenging to maintain the ice due to it's proximity to the sun during the day. The Ice Garden only had 10 officially "open" skating days in 2012 & 2013, respectively.
At the outset, the "Pelham Ice Garden volunteer group" made a commitment to the Town of Pelham that volunteers would build and maintain the rink, and the town simply would provide the proper risk insurance as the rink was built within a park (which was not an additional purchase to the town).
Once everyone realized the massive effort it takes to maintain an outdoor ice rink in southern NH, naturally, volunteer participation began to wane over the past 4 seasons.
In 2011, the volunteer group asked for some help from the Town and Parks & Recreation department, wherein the monies raised from the adult Pond Hockey League could help fund some new equipment for ice maintenance and kids from the Pelham School system could help maintain the ice from time to time. But again, given the proximity of the rink and being overexposed to the sun, the rink was built...but the ice quickly melted in 2013.
Given these current challenges, and some others that will not be mentioned in this announcement, we regret to inform you that the Pelham Ice Garden will not be built in 2014. It is our intent to take only 1 year off; but we need time to re-assess our plan, financials, number of volunteers, and other logistics needed in order to build and operate a safe ice surface in the future.
I am sure this comes as a disappointment to many. But at the very least, our hope is you "caught the bug" and that the enjoyment of outdoor skating is something you will continue to enjoy on open ponds, lakes, or maybe even in your own backyard?
I would like to remind you all that this ice rink that has bought so much joy & excitement to us all started with a simple thread on the Pelham Message Board. So do not think for one second that your voices aren't heard when you put yourself out there. We encourage you to communicate your feedback privately, but even more important publicly. We believe in transparent communication and hope that through your support and cooperation, we will all be skating somewhere near the center of town in 2015.
Thank you all for your support and friendship over the years. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you all, and mere words could never fully articulate how much I appreciate everything you have done to support the Pelham Ice Garden.
The Pelham Ice Garden is "an outdoor
Community ice rink built by volunteers and
enjoyed by the residents of Pelham, NH"
T. Haskins, R. Foye, C. Mader, K. Mader, L. Ouellette, J. Roark, & B. Ryan.
And of course, a special thank you to Brian Johnson, Kathy Carr,
Fire Chief Jim Midgley & Police Chief Joe Roark for their support!
PLEASE thank our volunteers when you see them at the rink!
Also important to note...WEAR A HELMET! There are cinder blocks surrounding the rink, and the ice & areas around the rink can be slippery. We're seeing too many people skating without a helmet and people could fall both ON and OFF the ice.
Be safe out there and have fun!
The Pelham Ice Garden would like to thank TSR Hockey, A Handy Company, FLIR Corporation, and Broussard General Contractors for their generous donations. Please visit their website, place of business, or write them a letter to thank them for their support...without sponsors like this, building & maintaining our rink wouldn't be possible!
If you've ever wanted to build a rink in your backyard, Damian Renzello is your man! He is based in Vermont and will hand deliver a rink kit to your home. And if he has time, may even help you build it!
Visit his website at: http://www.portarinxandbambini.com/