New Ice Rinks in Wheaton

Final equipment is arriving this week and next for two lighted new ice rinks for free public use at the Wheaton Park District’s Central Athletic Complex (500 S. Naperville Rd., Wheaton, Ill.) in downtown Wheaton. Officials anticipate opening them the third or fourth week of December.

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“We are working hard to have them open for the holiday break,” said Director of Parks and Planning Rob Sperl. “Our best-case scenario is December 23, but due to this fall’s unseasonably warm temperatures, preparations for ice rinks across Chicagoland have been delayed.”

The rinks, located on the east side of the complex’s athletic fields, can accommodate up to 288 skaters. Measuring 5,800 square feet, the smaller of the pair will host ice hockey, and the larger, coming in at 8,600 square feet, will host open skate. Skate rental and concessions are not provided.

They’ll be open 8A-9:30P daily through winter, said Sperl. Portable warming shelters and indoor restrooms will be open 4:30-9:30P on Fridays, 1-9:30P on Saturdays, and 1-6P on Sundays. Additional hours for the shelters may take effect during school breaks and holidays.

Benches and an ADA-accessible restroom trailer will also be onsite. Food and nonalcoholic beverages are permitted off the ice. Per ordinance, smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited on district property.

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During ice hockey, no slap shots, lifting the puck, or checking is allowed, and during open skate, all traffic must skate in the same direction, Cleary said. Other rules of conduct will be available at wheatonparkdistrict.com/outdoorfun and onsite.

Officials recommend parking in the parking garage at Willow St. and Cross Ave. and entering along E. Illinois St. on the north side of the fields.

The district’s Parks Services Department will groom the ice with a resurfacing machine as needed. Depending on crowd size, resurfacing intermissions should occur a few times per day.

“This will provide a safe, consistent ice skating surface that is not as dependent on the weather as what we have done with ponds and manmade ice in the past,” said Sperl.

 

The Parks Services Department will monitor the ice’s condition and fly a green flag when it’s ready and a red flag when it’s too warm. Guests can check the status from home and subscribe to the district’s Rainout Line for more frequent updates at wheatonparkdistrict.com/status-updates.

Come spring, summer, and fall, the permeable paver plazas beneath the ice can be used for spectator seating, thanks to the foresight of Superintendent of Planning Steve Hinchee.

“Steve spoke to the manufacturers of these ice systems and worked with our engineer to make sure it would all work together,” Sperl said. “He worked with our civil engineer and the City of Wheaton to design and permit the changes necessary for the surface to be level.”

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Along with open skate and ice hockey, the rinks will be available for rental in one-hour increments on Sunday mornings, January 1 through March 26, 2017. To schedule a rental, contact mbcleary@wheatonparks.org or 630.690.4880.

As weather permits, winter warriors can still visit Herrick Park (Herrick Dr. & Armbrust Ave.), Northside Park (1300 N. West St.), Rathje Park (616 Delles Rd.), and Seven Gables Park (1750 S. Naperville Rd.) for ice skating, too. These locations will be open dawn to 10P and also use the flag system.

 

To learn more about the Central Athletic Complex’s ice rinks and the Wheaton Park District’s other winter recreation opportunities, visit wheatonparkdistrict.com/outdoorfun.

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Annie Tandy
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