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BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department has announced that people can now rent the Nelson Withington Skating Facility Ice Rink for an hour at a time for those living in their immediate household.

You can enjoy some private ice time, including skating or shooting some pucks. In addition, participants will have access to nets and the shooter tutor. Only cash will be accepted for rentals and the fee is $75 an hour. Masks are required at all times, and you must bring a complete roster of everyone attending from your household including their full name and age. Due to COVID-19, everyone in the rental group must live in the same household, and no extended family can join in.

“When the Governor made his announcement on Nov. 13 to suspend recreation activities, we were wrapping up the ice making/painting process for the opening scheduled for Nov. 21. It takes about 2.5 weeks to get the ice ready for opening day once you turn on the compressors. Now that the ice is made, the town was faced with a decision as to how to move forward and still be available when the Governor gives the thumbs up to high school sports and recreation programming,” said Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department Director Carol Lolatte.

Brattleboro Union High School’s ice hockey teams can start playing games on Jan. 11, but it’s unknown when they will be allowed to begin practicing.

“The first step we took was steps to reduce our energy costs by turning up the ice temperature to the point the ice remains frozen but does not begin to melt, along with other cost-saving measures. At the same time, we had a town asset waiting to be utilized,” noted Lolatte. “Staying within the guidelines of the Governor’s executive order, we felt we could open the facility to household families for private one-hour rentals. We felt it would be in the best interest of the town to give residents the opportunity to recreate as household families and at the same time bring in revenue to help offset the loss of income and provide a positive recreational outlet for citizens.”

On Nov. 14, Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department suspended all recreational sports programs. The rink would normally be used for public skating, speed skating, stick time, figure skating and hockey practices/games.

“The FY 21 budget for the Nelson Withington Skating Facility is $86,500, and we projected we would bring in $115,000 in revenue. Also, please note these were pre-COVID projections,” Lolatte explained. “The fulltime maintenance staff is not included in the budget, but it does include seasonal skate guards and cashiers, propane, electric, utilities, building repairs and operational supplies.”

Ice rental reservations must be made online at: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040549A4AD22ABFF2-nelson1.

If there are special needs required for this program, let the Recreation and Parks Department know by five days in advance. For all programs, events, and online fillable registration forms, visit www.brattleboro.org. For more information, call 802-254-5808.

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