Matt Turner, left, Nestle Water safety coordinator for the Northeast and Bill Huot, vice president of house for Midcoast Youth Hockey, help pump more than 32,000 gallons of water into the ice rink at 20 Atwood Rd. in Topsham on Thursday. Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Over 32,000 gallons of water were pumped into the temporary ice rink at 20 Atwood Road in Topsham on Thursday, marking the start of another Midcoast ice skating season.

The rink, a free ice skating rink to aimed at building enthusiasm for a larger rink planned for Brunswick Landing in the next few years, is scheduled to open in the next two weeks, depending on the weather. 

The water, donated by Poland Springs and delivered in four 18 wheelers, was “absolutely critical” for the rink, as the location is not connected to town water, according to Bill Patterson, project manager.

More than two-dozen volunteers helped set a tarp over the bottom and sides of the rink over the weekend, allowing all 34,000 gallons to be pumped in at once, instead of in layers as is the case with many of the town-run rinks in Brunswick. The water also helped to melt the snow that accumulated in the rink during the week. 

While they hope to be on the ice before then, Patterson said organizers are planning a community skating event Jan. 17.

Last Thursday, Kyle Kapocius and Theodore Whitney, employees of the Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department, flooded the rink at Lishness Park on Pine Street for the fourth time. 

Kapocius said it takes several layers of water before the rink has enough of an ice base for skaters.

Tom Farrell, director of Parks and Recreation, said that with luck, the rink, located next to the Brunswick Sewer District, could be open for skaters by this weekend. 

Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department employee Kyle Kapocius sprays water on the Lishness hockey rink on Pine Street last week. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

It may take longer for the rinks on the Brunswick town mall and Coffin Pond. 

On the mall, Parks and Recreation employees roll the snow and frozen ground to get a solid base before flooding the rink. Last week the base was ready, Farrell said, but was lost during the warmer temperatures. They re-rolled Thursday, he said, and plan to ice it again in the coming evenings, when it is coldest. 

“We are subject to weather conditions,” he said, and these “mild temperatures work against us.” 

The local ice rinks are getting ready for skaters later and later in the winter as the climate changes, he said. 

“We used to have skateable ice around the Christmas holiday for the kids, but it’s been 10 or 12 years since we’ve had consistently skateable ice over Christmas vacation,” Farrell said. 

It was much the same story in the parking lot of Coffin Pond on River Road, he said. Last week, the rink was nearly 75% finished, but enough melted that they were set back. 

Signs will go up at the Lishness and Brunswick Mall rinks when they are ready for skating. Rink openings will also be posted on the Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department Facebook page and people can call the office if they have questions at 725-6656.

Reporter Darcie Moore contributed to this article.


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