By Dave Moran
As published in the Record Journal Sunday January 3, 2010
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WALLINGFORD — For more than 20 years, Wallingford residents have been able to skate on the ice at Remsen Arena on the Choate Rosemary Hall campus for a nominal fee, thanks to a program sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department. Open ice skating begins again today at the arena and continue Sunday afternoons through Feb. 21.
Ice skating tags, which must be purchased to utilize the rink, are available for $10 per person at the parks and recreation department at 6 Fairfield Blvd. Participants must bring their own skates, however.
The sessions run from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., but John Gawlak, director of the parks and recreation department, said that residents can purchase two tags if they want to skate for both sessions.
“That’s $20 for 16 hours of ice time,” Gawlak said. “That’s a little more than a dollar an hour; that’s a really good deal.” There are 600 tags available for each session, but Gawlak said that only about 350 in total have been sold thus far. Once the sessions begin non-residents can purchase the tags as well, but Gawlak said he does not foresee the tags selling out before then.
“That hasn’t been a problem because over the last six or seven years the numbers have been dwindling,” he said. “We used to sell close to 1,600 tags, but the last couple of years we’ve been averaging between 600 to 650.”
Gawlak attributed the diminishing numbers to an ice skating rink that opened in Northford several years ago that rents skates to participants.
Kenny Michael, a program specialist for the department, said that more tags are typically sold after the sessions begin.
“It’s still a little early,” Michaels said. “Usually after the first one goes by people realize that the skating has begun, and then they start coming in.”
Charlie Long, who manages the rink for Choate, said that the parks and recreation department has been renting ice time on the rink from the school since the early 1980s.
“They rent the ice from us, and we put them on the schedule,” Long said. “We just rent the ice to the town.”
Gawlak said the $10 fee goes towards the ice rental, salaries for the rink supervisors and the cost of the tags themselves. A portion of each fee also helps to support an adaptive skate program for those with special needs, which will be held on Sundays at 10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. through Jan. 31.
For more information, call the department at (203) 294-2120.