It's back to Woodruff Park for Connellsville's ice rink

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 4:57 p.m.

It's back to Woodruff Park for the proposed outdoor ice rink in Connellsville.

And if Mother Nature helps out, it could be here by next week.

Last month, the Connellsville Recreation Board and New Haven Hose Company were working together to set up an outdoor rink in the city. The courts at Woodruff Park were determined inadequate because of cracks and the inability to hold water.

With approval from Connellsville City Council and the Connellsville Area School District, the groups attempted to fill South Side Elementary School's basketball courts. On the first try, the water leaked. But city officials kept at it. On the next attempt, things were looking better. The water was freezing — until a warm snap hit the area, causing the ice to melt and the water to drain.

Now thanks to the help of an area business, the rink will be set up at Woodruff Park.

Connellsville City Councilman Brad Geyer contacted a friend at Chevron asking if it would be possible for the city to use a liner that is used for retention ponds at natural gas-well sites.

“Chevron put us in touch with the company that installs their liners, New Pig Energy,” Geyer said. The company agreed to donate a liner to the city.

“New Pig Energy said this liner would weigh over 1,500 pounds and needs placed on a clean surface, so talking with (Connellsville Street Department manager) Vern Ohler, we thought it would be easier to maneuver and clean the courts at Woodruff. The bleachers, parking and lights from the ball field are also other good reasons we looked at Woodruff,” said Geyer.

“Woodruff has always been our first choice,” said Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln, who has been working on the project for several weeks.

Lincoln said the rink will be 80 by 100 feet in diameter. He hopes to have a fire pit on site as well as a concession stand open for business.

“We are excited for this liner because we can pretty much put it in different places,” Lincoln said.

New Pig Energy originally was scheduled to come to the city on Tuesday afternoon to begin installing the liner with New Have Hose Co. filling it with water, but because of severe winter storms forecast for this week, Lincoln said the company won't be able to install the liner until Friday or Monday.

“We will need cold temps for this to work,” Lincoln said. “So earliest we could expect ice skating would be next week sometime.”

Geyer said hours of operation and other details have not been decided.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or

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