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August challenges ice replacement

August challenges ice replacement
Posted on 09/04/2020
Employees of R&R Specialties put down a logo on The River's Edge ice rink

Sept. 4, 2020 — Ice skating is back at The River’s Edge after a brief interruption caused by the derecho that blasted the region on Aug. 10. Replacing the large sheet of ice in the summer isn’t as easy as it is  when the weather is cooler.

The rink at The River’s Edge reopened on Sept. 1 after the storm-caused power outage led to the ice melting beyond repair. Ryan Devlin, the ice and turf supervisor at The River’s Edge, said people have been itching to get back on the ice.

“We’ve gotten emails and calls every day, asking, `are you ready to open,’” he said.

The loss of the ice required a crew from R&R Specialties, of Somerset, Wisconsin, to come in and paint the ice white and put down all of the logos on the ice.

After that work is done, Parks and Recreation crews came in and put down more ice to create an inch-and-a-half thick base.

Usually the ice is completely removed, replaced and painted every five years. This is the second time this year The River’s Edge staff replaced it. The first time, in March, was planned, with the second time definitely unexpected — especially at the end of August.

In the summer, you deal with outside humidity that causes condensation inside that drips onto the new ice. Devlin says that doesn’t affect the ice or how it looks.

“Once you get an inch of ice over it, you won’t be able to see it,” he said.

The time of year requires staff to take more time between layers to make sure the ice underneath is hard enough. The ice painting was done the last week of August, then Parks staff jumped in to complete the ice sheet to reopen it Sept. 1.