As hockey coaches and neighbors in the Linden Hills area, we share a letter writer’s concerns about the length of the outdoor skating season at neighborhood rinks (“Time to rethink investment in ice rinks” January 27, 2013).
However, instead of closing rinks like ours, we see a different solution: using volunteers to improve current methods in order to start the season earlier and improve ice quality. That’s why we’re studying other parks around the metro that have longer seasons, and exploring forming a booster club to take action and make the improvements our park needs.
Eliminating rinks is the wrong idea, and we believe the majority of our neighbors agree.
Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb says it best when she points out that part of living in Minnesota is, “an outdoor and winter skating tradition. Is that something we want to lose or is it part of our DNA?” That tradition is more than just recreational; it also builds neighborhoods by getting people out of their homes and mingling with their neighbors on chilly winter nights.
It gives kids a reason to put down the video game, get outside and stay active. It provides a neighborhood gathering spot. The city hockey programs are affordable and available to all kids, no matter their skill, experience or means. All these things should be preserved and improved, not eliminated.
We hope our friends in Southwest Minneapolis will join us in keeping the tradition alive, and creating the best possible experience we can for our neighbors and kids.
Paul Pirner, Scott Maida and John Rosengren