There will be fewer outdoor skating rinks for the 2016-2017 season, officials say, thanks in part to a decline in skating’s popularity.
Parks Department staff is recommending reducing the number of outdoor rinks for the upcoming season. Last year, rinks were installed at The 400 Block, Riverview School, John Marshall School and Brockmeyer Park. This year, outdoor ice skating will be offered at Marathon Park, which is the new permanent site for the Winter Freeze Pond Hockey Tournament in January, and at The 400 Block downtown. A third rink at Riverview School is still being discussed, says Parks Director Bill Duncanson.
Initially, Wausau School District staff determined the rink was no longer a good fit for Riverview, due to recent playground renovations. But the school’s principal and neighborhood residents disagreed, asking parks officials this week to reconsider.
Duncanson says that while interest in hockey remains high, recreational ice skating has been on the decline for years. Warmer temperatures also complicate matters, he says, and parks officials are often forced to wait until late December to pour the rinks.