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Mill River Park ice rink opening delayed

November 17, 2018

STAMFORD — The city experienced its first snowfall of the season this week, but it’s not quite cold enough for the Mill River Park ice rink to debut on time.

The rink was supposed to open Saturday, replete with a Mayor David Martin ribbon cutting, but plans have been delayed because of rain, snow and warmer-than-expected temperatures during the past week.

Nia Rhodes Jackson, director of programs and visitor services for the Mill River Park Collaborative, said the main culprit has been precipitation, which has prevented the skating surface from setting properly.

She said building the ice is a five-day process, in which half-inch layers are added each night to develop the more than three inches needed for skating.

But when an inch of rain is dumped on the surface in one night, it can’t maintain its temperature.

Jackson expects the upcoming cold and dry weather will allow for the rink to be finished and ready for next weekend.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I really think [the rink] is bringing that kind of world-class attraction to Stamford that major cities have.”

The ice skating center, named after Greenwich couple and multibillionaires Steven and Alexandra Cohen, is expected to be a year-round attraction on the east side of the park. The area will be an ice rink in the winter and an interactive fountain, which opened this fall, the rest of the year.

Jackson said construction of the 9,000-square-foot rink started in July 2017. The surface is not hockey regulation size, but is bigger than Rockefeller Center, she said.

The rink will be open to skaters from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

The price of admission to skate is $10 for adults and $8 for children, seniors and active duty members. Skate rentals will cost $4.

The skating surface will be open until mid-March. Jackson said the center will host several events during the season.

Local school bands will perform on Thursday nights and there will be movies displayed on an outdoor screen on Fridays.

On Saturday afternoons, fictional characters will make appearances, as Elsa from the Disney film “Frozen,” and The Grinch will take to the ice. There will be a DJ from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturdays.

After the New Year, the center will offer learn-to-skate lessons.

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