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Watkins to open skating rink this weekend ADVERTISEMENT

Watkins to open skating rink this weekend

WATKINS GLEN--Unseasonably warm weather may have pushed back the opening of the new Clute Park ice skating rink to Nov. 27, but that has done little to diminish enthusiasm both amongst the public and village officials. Covering about 10,000 square feet of space, the ice rink sits in front of the newly constructed community center where the impressive size of the space is both easily accessible, contains excellent views, and is very noticeable driving by.
Due to the sheer size of the rink, the village has contracted to have a Zamboni on hand throughout the winter to ensure the ice stays smooth and even.
The development project on the southern end of Seneca Lake was specifically designed to increase the year-round attractions for residents and visitors alike.
"We are gearing up for it and we are looking forward to it, we have the workers in place and are hopeful for a good winter season," said Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk.
Parks and Events Manager Craig Bond said it is also important to view the rink as an asset.
"It's a nice asset to have for the ability for outdoor recreation. Families can come down here and take the kids down to skate," said Bond.
Along with being open to all skaters four days a week, Bond said there has also been a lot of sporting interest generated by the rink even before the ice has frozen.
"I have had quite a bit of interest in hockey, however, our (boards) are not regulation but I think there is quite a bit of interest in the community to run a hockey program for kids more on Saturdays," Bond added. "We have also had ice skaters ask if they can rent the ice for a set period of time during the off-hours."
Along with the potential athletic and economic benefits of the rink, it can also be used as a tool to bring the community closer together.
"Throughout the course of the first few weeks here if anyone brings a toy to support Seneca Santa or an ornament or decoration for the tree here we are lighting up, they can get a free skate," Bond mentioned.
The ice skating rink is slated to open Saturday, Nov. 27, and is scheduled to be open until St. Patrick's Day, weather permitting. Scheduled to open four days a week, the hours are Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is $7 and includes skates.
"We're trying to run programs for the public during the warmer parts of the day because this is an outside skating rink," said Bond.

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