FARMINGTON — Parks and Recreation Director Steve Shible presented a proposed budget Tuesday, asking selectmen if it was worth spending $4,400 to have the skating rink at Hippach Field for so few skaters and so short a season.

There’s no revenue from it, Shible said. The skating season generally runs from the end of December to maybe the first or second week of February, he said.

He proposed saving about $3,500 by doing away with the rink, but the board decided to talk with taxpayers and discuss the rink’s future at their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Municipal Building.

In addition to cost, the rink is subject to weather and, in recent years, low attendance, Shible said. Winter rain, sleet and snow affects the quality of the ice and whether the rink is open.

Sunday was an ideal day for skating, he said. Between 20 and 30 people used it. On hockey nights, there are 10 to 15 skaters and regular skating draws about seven to 10 people a day, he said. 

People come when it first opens but then the newness wears off, he said.

The estimated $4,400 cost includes supervision of the rink from 4 to 8:30 p.m. by the Recreation Department. After closing, the rink is scraped and flooded for an hour and a half every night. The cost does not include electricity or heat for the warming hut.

By the time the board revisits the discussion, closing the rink for this season may be a moot point, but some selectmen wondered what to do about next season.

Selectman Andrew Hufnagel wondered if people were interested and also if a fundraising event be held for the rink.

“We’ll do whatever,” Shible said.

Shible presented a Parks and Recreation budget request of $153,002, $12,063 less than the $165,065 appropriated by voters for 2013.

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