To their credit, planners wanted a park that could be used all four seasons. That raises the sticky question of what can a park offer in the winter? Maybe ice skating? That’s a reasonable idea but the reality of weather at the beginning of the 21st century is that it is typically not cold enough to sustain an outdoor skating rink for any significant period of time.
Not a problem for Holyoke. Taking a page from our Canadian neighbors they decided to create a skating path in the shape of a modified oval. How to deal with finicky temperatures? No problem! Install refrigeration.
On January 6 of 2013 Holyoke opened up their new outdoor skating path to the public and it has been going strong ever since. According to Recreation Supervisor Peter Leclerc not only is the skating path a big hit with residents, it has been attracting people from as far away as Connecticut and Vermont. The path itself is 300 feet long by 10 feet wide, and even with recent rains the ice is fabulous (when you have refrigeration, rain freezes…).
The skating path is open:
- Monday through Thursday from 10 AM to 6 PM for free skating. There is no staff, ice resurfacing, and skate rentals.
- Friday: 6 PM to 9 PM
- Saturday: 12 Noon to 4 PM and 6 PM to 9 PM
- Sunday: 12 Noon to 4 PM
On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there is an admission fee of $3 and skate rentals are available for $2.
Peter said that they hope to keep the skating path open through St. Patrick’s Day but they will need Mother Nature to cooperate. They cannot operate the refrigeration when temperatures go above 50 degrees.
For winter of 2013/2014 the plan is to open the ice skating path on December 1 and again try to run through St. Patrick’s Day.
Extended Hours for Valentine’s Day
Looking for a romantic time with your honey on Valentine’s day. The skating path will be open extended hours to accommodate amorous couples (and everyone else)… The extended hours are:
- Thursday (Valentine’s Day 2/14/2013): 4 PM to 9 PM
- Friday 2/15/2013: 4 PM to 10 PM
- Saturday 2/16/2013: 11 AM to 4 PM and 6 PM to 10 PM
- Sunday 2/17/2013: 12 Noon to 5 PM
So make it a point to check out New England’s newest, and arguably most creative, outdoor ice skating venue – the ice skating path at Community Field in Holyoke, MA.
Picture credits: The picture of the skating path in Holyoke, MA is by Jeffrey Byrnes and was provided to us by the Holyoke Parks and Recreation Department.