The Journal Gazette
Thursday, November 11, 2021 1:00 am

Headwaters ice rink to open fully Nov. 20

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

The ice rink at Headwaters Park will open for the season Nov. 20 at full capacity.

The Headwaters Park Outdoor Ice Skating Rink will be open seven days a week – except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day – until Feb. 27.

Geoff Paddock, executive director of the Headwaters Park Alliance, said he looks forward to being open at full capacity this season. The rink could only be at 50% capacity in the 2020-21 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The alliance also does not have to worry about setting up a contact tracing system, Paddock said. Masks and social distancing are recommended for skaters while they are on the rink, but it isn't required.

Ice skating at Headwaters has become a tradition for many people throughout the region since it opened in 2003.

“This is an important winter activity. This is the only ice-skating rink of its kind within at least 100 miles,” Paddock said, noting the coverage from the Lincoln Pavilion sets it apart.

About 22,000 people skated at Headwaters Park last season. The rink's record attendance is 36,000 people in a season, and Paddock hopes at least 30,000 people visit the rink this season.

About 100 people can skate on the rink at a time.

The Downtown Improvement District is the sponsor of the ice rink, which Paddock said is helpful considering the extra costs associated with COVID-19 precautions.

“This is a really great opportunity for people in the community and in the surrounding areas to come down and engage with the local economy,” said Preston Wallace, the Downtown Improvement District's marketing director.

Now that the alliance has sponsorship, the issue it faces is finding enough employees to staff the rink seven days a week.

“Everybody's having trouble hiring part-time employees, right?” Paddock said. “Certainly, that has been seen by our organization as well.”

The rink will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Single and season skating passes are available by calling Paddock at 425-5745. Rink staff can be reached at 422-7625 starting Nov. 21.

Ice skating is $4 for ages 13 and younger and $6 for ages 14 and older, and skate rentals cost $3. Parking and spectating are free.

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