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Homesteader ice rink provides winter fun

Even without ice skates, Kwentin, left, and Kasyn Ramirez enjoy playing along the edge of the ice rink at Homesteader Park on New Year’s Day. Even without ice skates, Kwentin, left, and Kasyn Ramirez enjoy playing along the edge of the ice rink at Homesteader Park on New Year’s Day. Tribune photo by Dante Geoffrey

Those who say it’s too hard to stay active during winter have yet to take advantage of the ice rink at Homesteader Park.

The rink is located to the northwest of the Powell Aquatic Center, atop of two asphalt basketball courts, and is open during the day to the public.

Powell Recreation director Colby Stenerson said the rink is open every day until 10 p.m., when the lights will automatically shut off.

Skates can be rented from 1-5 p.m. for $2.50 per pair, or, for more avid skaters, a card good for 12 skate rentals can be purchased for $20.

Rentals and reservations are organized by the Powell Rec District, while the Powell Parks Department is in charge of rink maintenance.

Parks Superintendent Del Barton said the rink will stay open as long as the weather allows it.

“We keep an eye on the temperature to make sure that it will be cold enough to put on a new, thin sheet (of ice) everyday,” Barton said. “If it’s going to be more than 32 degrees, we tend to hold off on doing anything.”

Barton advises skaters use the rink with caution.

“We’re not here 24/7, so we can’t see all those safety concerns, we have to rely on people to use their own common sense and take safety in their own hands,” Barton said.

Safety is the main reason hockey is not allowed on the Homesteader ice. The rink has no boards around the ice, and thus has nothing to stop flying pucks, and/or people, from involuntarily exiting the rink.

“It’s more really designed for, and not safely used for ice hockey,” Barton said. “We’ve kind of gotten away from hockey. Ten years ago we used to have hockey boards that were set up around it. So right now we don’t have ice hockey simply because of the danger.”

The rink is usually not ready for use until around Christmas, though preparation begins a month prior.

“When the temperature starts to get cold enough, usually around Thanksgiving, we start to put layers of water down because it gets absorbed by the ground,” Barton said.

The rink measures approximately 80 by 120 feet, which is as wide, but 80 feet shorter than a standard hockey rink.

A new coat of asphalt will be placed this spring which should create a cleaner, clear color of ice next winter. The ice now is dark like the asphalt underneath.

“It will be a really nice play surface for basketball, and a smoother, easier-to-maintain surface for ice skating,” Barton said.

The Parks Department puts yellow ribbon around the rink when it is not safe for public use.

For more information, such as ice conditions and reservations, call the Powell Rec District at 754-5711.

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