Ralph Walker Rink To Reopen This Month

City of New HavenThe long-shuttered Ralph Walker Skating Rink will reopen later this month.

That’s according to a Wednesday press release from city spokesman Laurence Grotheer.

“Mayor Toni N. Harp, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Trees Director Rebecca Bombero, and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn announced today the planned reopening of the Ralph Walker Rink, set for Saturday, February 16,” Grotheer wrote. “Phase I of a thorough renovation of the facility will be complete by that time. Today, as city officials prepare to begin laying ice once again, they announced the rink will re-open in time for February break.”

The city closed the East Rock skating rink in 2016 because of disrepair. Mayor Harp initially planned on closing it for good, but changed her mind because of public outcry. The city has since launched a two-phase renovation.

In April 2018, Albertus Magnus College announced the creation of a varsity men’s hockey team, and ponied up $300,000 to turn the rink into its home ice.

Grotheer said the grand re-opening celebration will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16 starting at 1:30 p.m.

Phase I renovations have included an expanded roof and ice length, new views of East Rock park, new dasher boards, a new and more efficient compressor system, and updated plumbing to service existing bathrooms.

“The newly renovated rink will stay open through mid-March,” he wrote, “when Phase II renovations will begin.  Phase II renovations are scheduled to include locker rooms (one to serve as the home of the new Division III Albertus Hockey team) and a new concessions building with a separate party room.”

Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/ralphwalkericerink/.

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posted by: Noteworthy on February 6, 2019  5:35pm

This is a joke. This rink is over budget and behind schedule and it’s still not done. And no, it was not a two phase. The Albertus piece is not finished and it was supposed to be so that end of the rink is as of the other day, still open and incomplete as is the parking lot.

Once again Engineer Zinn, underestimated the time and materials and just performed poorly. Once again, the city had no money to just pay for it - because we’re broke beggars always looking for a handout because City Hall can’t manage its money. In fact, the disrepair of the old rink is because DeStefano/Harp wouldn’t keep it repaired and up to date. Like our schools, at some point, they just are functionally obsolete.

What’s worse, is that Harp was going to shutter a rink that draws people from all over the city. To not know this is remarkable.

One final note: Ice Rink professionals say its stupid to open a rink at great cost with the season so short. It will not bring in enough revenue to cover the start up costs. This is just another CYA moment by the Harp House. It must be exhausting.

posted by: RobotShlomo on February 7, 2019  10:16am

@Noteworthy

Remember the joke about DeStefano? Somebody gave him a puck and he spent an hour trying to open it. I’m actually surprised that the city is actually following with something. I’m so used to things disappearing with nothing to replace them. It should have been renovated years ago, and without Albertus Magnus the rink would have been closed permanently. Especially considering that there are no apartments next door, and they wouldn’t want the plebs mixing in with the “urban pioneers” or whatever they’re calling themselves this week.

In any event, think I’m going to get my skates sharpened and test out the ice next week.

posted by: Ryn111 on February 7, 2019  10:59am

Is there any transparency on a budget? where is this information available?

posted by: EastRockResident on February 9, 2019  11:37am

I am very happy that the Ralph Walker Ice Rink is reopening.  It was a great melting pot of New Haven residents being active and enjoying themselves.  The renovated rink will be bigger and better than the old rink and available for recreational use, figure skating, and hockey.  There is great demand for hockey ice time and this rink could be heavily used by teams from around the region. New Haven is one of the few local school districts that does not have high school hockey, but with a new rink it town, perhaps that will change.

Even if the process was imperfect, the rink will open soon. Opening for a few weeks will allow the city to ensure that the new equipment is functioning properly before they close for the season.  This is a long term investment in city infrastructure and NOT to open it now would be foolish.  It is easy to criticize the process, but look at the positive benefits it will have for residents and the neighborhood.  Go skate and have some fun.