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Ashland ice rink to remain closed

Nov. 12, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

ASHLAND -- Citing declining use and increasing repair costs, Ashland officials have decided not to open the city's ice skating rink at 22nd Street and Bath Avenue this winter.

"Not enough people were using it," Mayor Chuck Charles said "We have to watch every penny. There are no plans for a new skating rink."

Both the Ashland Park Board and the city's Parks and Recreation Department recommended closing the open-air skating rink. Sean Murray, parks and recreation director, said the rink was open only about 40 days per year from mid-December to the first of February.

The skating rink opened in 1998 and initially had as many as 3,000 skaters per year. In recent years, however, the number of skaters using it dropped to between 1,600 and 1,700 per year, Murray said Monday.

City Commissioner Kevin Gunderson announced in his Kevin Mail last week that the closing was due to declining use along with the age and condition of the skating rink. He said parks and recreation officials estimated it would cost about $5,000 to make repairs before it could open this year.

There currently are no plans for the space in Central Park, Murray said.

"It could be used for green space or an athletic field," he said.

Years ago the property was used as a Little League ballfield.

At this point, we are looking at the best use for the property," Murray said.

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