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Saturday , 16 January 2021
Work has already begun at Reunion Station.

Yes to skating oval at Reunion Station, says St. Paul town council

No to outdoor rink near Extra Foods, however.

The Town of St. Paul plans to begin construction of a skating oval around one row of campground stalls at Reunion Station.

According to administration, the idea was first proposed by Coun. Gary Ward, who in turn got it from a conference he attended earlier this year.

“Completing the one oval allows a lot more skating ice surface out there for people, whether it be one direction or two direction or whatever. It also gives families the availability with the tables that are out there and also the fire pits to spend an afternoon out there or a couple hours and have a wiener roast and go skating at the same time,” said Ward.

He noted there is already parking available there, and said with the larger surface it would likely be utilized by more people than a lot of the smaller rinks the town has in parks right now.

CAO Kim Heyman said the skating oval would allow people to maintain distance from each other without having to stop and skate around people.

“But the kids are going to have something to do, they’re going to go crazy here over Christmas, never mind their parents,” said Heyman.

According to information provided to council, the oval is expected to take two staff eight hours each to build.

Coun. Nathan Taylor called the oval a “brilliant idea” and asked if the campground bathrooms would be available for people to use.

According to Heyman, the bathrooms have already been winterized and had the water turned off.

In discussion of recreational opportunities at the site, Mayor Maureen Miller asked if ice fishing was available at Willie’s Pond since the addition of the aerators.

“I’m not saying it’s not allowed, just that you have to be very careful,” said Trevor Kotowich, the town’s Fire Chief and Director of Protective Services and Emergency Management.

Coun. Ron Boisvert suggested fencing half the pond so there could be ice fishing opposite the aerators but Miller mused such an action would result in smarter fish who would stay near the aerators.

A motion to build the skating oval passed with unanimous support.

No to 48 Ave E rink

Town of St. Paul voted no to an additional outdoor rink near Extra Foods.

According to CAO Kim Heyman, residents on the 48 Ave East cul de sac requested an outdoor ice surface on the boulevard area in the middle of the street. She noted there is already a small outdoor ice sheet a couple of blocks away in the Spring Creek subdivision which is expected to be operational in the very near future.

Mayor Maureen Miller noted it would likely be same kids using the rink at 48 Ave as in Spring Creek and suggested in future the community be more involved in the process of deciding where rinks be located.

“It’s still a lot of work for our staff to maintain. So don’t know whether I’d approve to have two done in the same area, but I would like the area to decide where they would like it in future years going forward,” said Miller.

Coun. Nathan Taylor suggested developing a process for future years so residents could build and maintain their own outdoor rinks, noting when he lived in Smoky Lake he spent a great deal of time using donated fire hoses to flood outdoor skating surfaces.

Coun. Ron Boisvert suggested the recreation department should develop a plan for the locations of outdoor rinks around town each year in consultation with the community.

“In the past, there was a lot of neighbors used to build their own rink, the town would come and flood it once and then everybody would look after the maintenance thereafter,” said Boisvert.

The request for a skating rink at 48 Ave East was denied.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.