by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — Water poured out for hours January 2 in effort to ready the first State House lawn ice skating rink. The Bridge stopped by around 2 p.m. (with yet an hour or so more of water dispensing to go) and ran into Montpelier Alive board president Sarah Jarvis, Montpelier Fire Chief Robert Gowans and rink installer Damian J. Renzello, among others.
“The weather will dictate the opening at this point and it looks warm the next few days, so stay tuned to see if we stay on track for the 4th,” wrote Ashley Witzenberger, executive director of Montpelier Alive, one of the partners in creating the project. “The community support has been terrific and we can’t wait to see everyone skating downtown under the golden dome.”
Renzello and Dan Vooris were making final tweaks to the rink’s structure as the water gushed and curious onlookers approached with a smattering of questions. One person asked if the rink would kill the grass underneath. Renzello said once the snow starts melting, grass germination starts. So it is up to the city to remove the rink early enough to let the grass grow. Renzello is the owner of Porta-Rinx based in East Montpelier. He is also supplying a “bambini,” which will be used to maintain the rink. A bambini is a smaller version of a zamboni.
The fire department helped get the water flowing through hoses belonging to the department of public works beginning at around 11 a.m. “We’re helping supply water. It is a great thing for the city,” Gowans said. It is expected to take until around 4 p.m. to fill the rink, with about 25,000 total gallons needed.
Montpelier Alive has a webpage for the rink:http://montpelieralive.