Updated, 9:20 a.m. Dec. 20
By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — East side ice skating enthusiasts in Wausau have cause for celebration, as a new rink is being installed at Thom Field.
Parks officials will continue to make more ice and plan to install lights for night skating, said Parks and Recreation Director Bill Duncanson. The city aims to open the rink by Friday if ice can be made quickly enough. A water truck making ice broke down late Tuesday, limiting ice-making capabilities, but crews continue to work toward a weekend opening.
“We make ice and snow day and night to get our rinks and tubing hill ready as soon as possible once the weather cooperates,” Duncanson told Wausau Pilot and Review early Wednesday.
Northeast side residents organized a grassroots effort this year to resurrect an ice rink in the neighborhood after the Wausau School District eliminated the rink at Riverview Elementary. City leaders have been working with residents ever since to find an acceptable location for a new rink.
Plans for a 12,600-square-foot rink on privately owned land at the intersection of Sixth Street and Evergreen Road fell through earlier this month, after the property owners expressed liability concerns.
Decades ago, the city poured rinks at a number of local elementary schools. But the number of rinks diminished over the years, and this year, outdoor skating would have been limited to The 400 Block and Marathon Park had the city not decided on the Thom Field location.
Marathon Park, which is lit at night, has a hockey rink with boards and a recreational rink supported by a warming house. The 400 Block features a recreational rink with a warming house and is also lit at night.
Thom Field, accessed off 13th Street north of Stark Street, will feature a recreational rink and benches for putting skates on. Lights are still on order, Duncanson said.