Nottingham Lake exceeds expectations with 59 days of ice skating
After being closed for nine years due to safety concerns, Nottingham Lake reopened for public ice skating this winter
After being closed for nine years due to safety concerns, Nottingham Lake in Avon reopened for public ice skating this winter.
In a new report prepared for the Avon Town Council, Avon Recreation Director John Curutchet said the town was able to operate on Nottingham Lake for 59 days this winter from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28. This nearly doubles the initial estimates made for the lake’s operation.
In preparation for re-opening public access to the lake, the Avon Public Works department conducted ice thickness studies during the winter of 2019-20. Based on this data, Public Works Superintendent Drew Isaacson estimated that the lake would be able to operate for “roughly 30 days” in 2021.
According to Curutchet’s 2021 report, 1,273 skaters made their way to Nottingham Lake during January and February. From both skate rentals — of which there were 863 — and concession sales, the town brought in $7,536 in revenue.
The lake has been closed for public skating since 2012 following a number of incidents where employees fell through the ice while maintaining the surface. The town ultimately terminated skating operations on the lake due to the increasing difficulties of maintaining the ice itself.
Among the challenges found were rising winter temperatures (leading to problems in ice thickness), continuous water flow from Buck Creek into the lake and safety and liability concerns. In the 2021 season, 1,056 skaters signed liability waivers and there were only four reported accidents — one hip injury, a bruised knee and two split chins.
In order to re-open public access on the ice, the town spent $44,398 to staff and maintain the lake for skating. Originally, the Town Council has estimated the cost to be between $30,000 and $40,000 for one month of operation.
Based on the success of this year, the town will look to offer a number of programs at the lake in 2022. This includes skating lessons, broomball and 3-on-3 pond hockey. Also up for discussion next year is increasing lighting on the north side of the rink, increasing the surface area for programs like hockey and adjusting weekend and holiday hours of operations.
Curutchet will be giving the full ice report at the Tuesday, March 23 meeting of the Avon Town Council at 5:15.
Reporter Ali Longwell can be reached at email@example.com.