The Village of Sag Harbor may be the newest community to boast an ice rink for its residents this winter if trustee Tim Culver has his way.
During a village board meeting earlier this month Sag Harbor Business Association Chair Ted Conklin voiced his support for the concept, which Culver admitted this week was his idea as a way to keep the village vibrant during the bleak winter months.
While the concept is in preliminary stages with neither a site or an operator confirmed, Conklin supported the idea of a Long Island Avenue parcel owned by National Grid as the location for a village ice rink, noting it could be another feather in Sag Harbor’s cap. That Long Island Avenue parcel was recently remediated by National Grid in an ambitious nine-month clean up that wrapped up at the beginning of this summer. Village officials were able to negotiate a deal with the utility to lease the space for parking for the summer season, although that lease expires in November. According to Culver, the village has yet to reach out to National Grid about having an ice rink during the winter months on the property, but that he would hope to find another space should the utility be opposed to the idea.
“I think it’s a great idea, and that would seem to be the logical spot, but if we can’t do it there, we can do it somewhere else,” said Culver on Wednesday. “The point is the ice rink would be a draw to the village.”
Other areas for consideration, said Culver, could include Marine Park.
“It would become a point of attraction and a benefit for the people of the village,” said Culver, noting if the National Grid site was ultimately used the loss of parking spaces in the village would not be detrimental due to the time of year.
While residents on the East End have long enjoyed the winter pastime on area ponds, in recent years communities have largely embraced maintained ice rink facilities. In East Hampton, after years of controversy over its legality, the Buckskill Winter Club operates a rink on the Buckskill Tennis Club’s tennis courts. This past winter was the second year Southampton Village boasted its own rink, at Agawam Park, although unlike the winter club’s facility that rink is weather dependent and as a result its inaugural year was largely unsuccessful due to warm winter temperatures.
“It is my though to find private people to run this,” said Culver. “I don’t want the village to be in the ice rink business.”
Culver said he would like to see a facility not dependent on weather in order to create a more reliable venture for whatever operator the village chooses to run the rink. According to Culver, the next step is to begin a formal process of selecting a site and going out to bid for an operator.
“It is not just for the weekend people,” continued Culver. “If you are a kid out here, unless you want to join the Polar Bear club, there is not a lot to do.”