Poolesville Scraps Plans for Synthetic Ice Rink Because of Costs

The Town of Poolesville is not moving forward with plans for a synthetic ice rink, according to Town Manager Wade Yost.

You may remember that Montgomery County was hoping to partner with the town on a rink after a backyard rink, “Mel’s Rink,”  made national headlines when the county shut it down for public use in 2016. The owner of the 2,100-square-foot-rink, Marc Kohn, was told that he was in violation of zoning laws because public uses were not allowed in the agricultural reserve. That’s when county leaders decided to try and find a location in the town of Poolesville so kids would have a place to ice skate locally.

For the past year, officials have researched the costs, materials and maintenance, for the installation of a synthetic ice rink in the Town of Poolesville. The idea was that the county would fund the project and the Town of Poolesville would provide the land, ongoing maintenance and liability.  A possible location for the rink was identified at Dillingham Park.

According to Yost, county staff proposed providing $140,000 toward the project. He said it was estimated that an additional $240,000 would be needed for the permitting, site preparation, storm water management and the material to construct the rink. Even though other funding from the state was possible, that left the town with a substantial amount for taxpayers to fund. During its research, the Poolesville Parks Board also identified other concerns, including questions about the best surface type and the wear of the synthetic ice on skate blades, requiring constant sharpening.

Yost said after reviewing the research, costs, both initial and ongoing, and public input, the town’s commissioners “iced” the synthetic rink. Residents were informed of the town’s decision earlier this year.

“People understood,” said Yost, who said several hockey coaches even told him they had doubts about the success of synthetic ice over real ice.

Montgomery County Recreation Director Gabe Albornoz said he understands and respects the town’s position, noting that the county wanted the partnership and the rink to be “a win, win,” for all.

He said the recreation department will continue to look for other options because there is a demand for more ice rinks in Montgomery County. Albornoz confirmed the county’s two indoor ice rinks are so busy that getting ice time can often be difficult for skaters.

According to Albornoz, there is a possibility that an indoor ice rink may be built and opened at Ridge Road Park in Germantown sometime in the future.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


One Response to “Poolesville Scraps Plans for Synthetic Ice Rink Because of Costs”

  1. Avatar
    On May 1, 2017 at 5:06 pm responded with... #

    Typical. The County busts a guy’s private
    endeavor because it doesn’t live up to their
    Max-Nerd standards. In an effort to mollify
    the disappointed skaters, the County
    appoints another committee to study the
    issue to death. Of course, when the
    controversy dies down, the County declares
    the public-rink dead, as it can’t possibly
    meet the County’s EXPENSIVE Max-Nerd

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