Local media gave great coverage of the city’s successful scramble in early December to provide citizens with another outdoor skating rink this winter. Also great has been the community’s grateful reaction to the news that parks staffers created a rink on the 13th Street side of Thom Field.
This strikes me as an example of exactly how local government should work for its residents. It started in the fall of 2016. Rink supporters came to the Park and Recreation Committee unhappy that it appeared the usual spot for a rink at Riverview Elementary School would be unavailable. The committee offered to put the rink in if the supporters could get the school district’s OK. They got their rink for the winter of 2016-17.
Feeling use levels did not warrant the inconvenience, school officials announced that permission would not be granted again.
Keeping the committee informed, the supporters went to work – with their city council rep – for this winter. Hopes were raised for four possible sites. All fell through. I had given up, but at the Dec. 4 committee meeting the idea of using Thom Field was floated. Mayor Mielke called the school district the next morning and arrangements were made. Success came when we worked together.
Credit goes to rink supporters including Steve Miller and Brad Bodner, city council reps Becky McElhaney and Tom Neal, the entire committee, the mayor and the park department.
Pat Peckham, Dist. 1 alderman and chair of the park and recreation committee
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