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Alexandria city crews work on skating rink at Noonan Park

The warming house will not be open this year because of COVID-19.

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Chandler Riedel, who works for the Alexandria parks department, tries to clear off the snow from the Noonan Park skating rink last Friday, Jan. 7, 2021. Only a portion of the rink will be open this year and because of COVID-19, the warming house will not be open. Celeste Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press
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Alexandria Park Department crews have been trying hard to get the skating rink open at Noonan Park, but Mother Nature seems to have different plans.

Right before Christmas, crews had the skating area cleaned off without any equipment going through the ice, which has happened in the past, according to Bill Thoennes, Alexandria Public Works director.

He noted there was about 6-7 inches of ice when the Christmas weekend storm dumped about a foot of snow over the pond, situated along Nokomis Street between 9th and 10th avenues in Alexandria.

The weight of the snow pushed water up on the ice and when crews tried to blow it off, the water was not frozen and it ended up being just a mess.

"If we wouldn't have received the Christmas weekend storm, we would've had great ice and people would be skating their hearts out," said Thoennes. "Mother Nature had different ideas again this year."

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Bill Thoennes

Thoennes noted in an update on the City of Alexandria's Facebook page that there needs to be about 12-inches of ice to hold the boards for the hockey rinks and for the equipment to maintain the whole rink.

Last week, crews were back at Noonan Park, but Thoennes said a piece of equipment started falling through but the operator was able to get back out and off the ice safely.

Crews were able to clear a portion of the rink in front of the warming house on Friday, Jan. 7, but there was still water on the ice on the south side. The warming house, noted Thoennes, will not be open this year because of concerns with COVID-19. There are portable bathrooms for skaters to use. And there are benches outside for them to sit on to change in and out of their skates.

Thoennes said crews would be working on the rink again this week, putting water down to try and level it off.

"We hope to have a Zamboni on the ice either Wednesday or Thursday and there should be good ice for skating by the weekend," said Thoennes.

He noted that his crews should be able to put up boards for one hockey rink, but that it will not be in its usual location because of the ice conditions.

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"The skating area will probably be way smaller in the past," said Thoennes. "It is another weird year."

Related Topics: ALEXANDRIA
Celeste Edenloff is the special projects lead and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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