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Lace up those skates, Oakmont; ice rink being bought

Oakmont residents should be ice skating in Riverside Park this winter.

Council on Monday approved the purchase of a temporary ice rink for use during the winter months. The vote was unanimous.

The 88-by-164-foot liner that will be installed on the Riverview High School football field will cost about $11,200. The rink itself costs $9,146, said recreation board member Tom Bland.

He said that includes a small Zamboni machine to resurface the ice and 15-inch high kick plates for the perimeter of the rink.

An additional $2,000 will cover needed accessories such as a snowblower and two trailers to carry the heavy liner, he said.

The borough is not paying for the rink. However, Bland said recreation board funds would be a backstop to fundraising efforts, which will be the primary source.

"The funds, we intend for them to come from donations and, hopefully, a major sponsor," Bland said. "I think everyone knows we have been talking with the Penguins."

Bland and fellow board members Molly Merlino and Regina Vitti-Lyons said the recreation board submitted a request for a major contribution to the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey club management, which is considering the request.

"They asked us to write up a proposal: what it is, how it will affect the community and, of course, how it will increase interest in hockey," Bland said. That has been submitted, he said.

But the rec board members said they don't know the likelihood of the Penguins providing a contribution, so fundraising will continue.

Thus far, they said $5,400 has been received.

"We've just gotten the word out to the community, and we've gotten really strong support," Merlino said.

Bland said the expected life of the liner is a minimum of five years. He said it will fold up into a package that can be stored under the bleachers in a fenced in area, which would take up about 25 percent to 30 percent of the available space.

Bland said the board recommended the largest liner available because it will allow the community to do more. He said, for example, it would be large enough to allow skating on one part while hockey clinics or skating lessons are held on another part.

As for when the liner would be taken out, Bland said it would likely have to be by March 1 to make way for the high school track season.

The liner is supposed to be ordered this week and likely will take six weeks to ship, according to Bland.

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