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Traxler Park lagoon open for skating

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Marcia Nelesen
January 4, 2013

The city is doing things the old-fashioned way, clearing snow from a section of the Traxler Park lagoon so residents can ice skate.

The lagoon, which officially opens tonight, has 5 inches of ice. A land rink next to the lagoon that features a new flooding system has not yet frozen.

The city built the flooding system in December 2011 by digging a depression and installing a series of pipes that flood the rink from the bottom. Cost was about $45,000.

The system was meant to save city workers time and to create thicker ice to prolong the outdoor skating season, especially so children could skate during holiday vacations.

In the past, crews sprayed water for days to create a sheet of ice, often being paid overtime because work was done outside regular hours. Now, workers simply turn a valve so water from a nearby chilling pool leaks into the rink.

"It's designed to be a pretty hands-off operation," Tom Presny, parks director, said in a previous article. "You fill it with water and let Mother Nature take care of freezing it."

Two winters ago, skaters got four to five weeks of skating. Last winter, warmer weather canceled skating.

One of the issues this year might involve water that is flowing continually from the cooling pond into the land rink. Workers do not know why that is happening.

It's possible the water isn't in the cooling pond long enough and is coming in warm, Presny said. The problem also could be that the rink is losing too much water and that too much water is coming in.

Staff discovered the issue when workers returned from the holiday.

City engineers were asked Thursday to determine if the problem is a system problem or something with the ground itself, Presny said.

"There's nothing to make me feel like we've got a broken system," he. "It's just a matter of trying to determine what's not working or what needs adjustments."



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