Frisco approves $42K in improvements for ice skating at Meadow Creek Park
Cost includes personnel, storage shed, maintenance and more
The pond at Meadow Creek Park is set to go under a winter face-lift. While free ice skating and other seasonal activities aren’t new, budgeted amenities aim to up the user experience.
Frisco Town Council approved spending roughly $42,100 to go toward the pond at its Tuesday, Nov. 9, meeting. Of that, $5,600 will be to hire a seasonal maintenance operator paid at $17.50 per hour. The person will work about 20 hours per week for roughly 16 weeks maintaining the ice as well as other duties for the public works department.
Other miscellaneous purchases are $3,000 to build dasher boards — the perimeter wall around the rink — in addition to $3,000 for rubber mats, $2,000 for more lighting on the existing light pole, and $3,000 to design and build a Zamboni-style ice surface maintainer in house.
That machine will be pulled by some sort of all-terrain vehicle with a broom, plow or blower to clear the snow for $12,000. The new ice maintenance equipment will be stored in a shed that will cost $12,000 to buy and install.
Canvas tarps will be placed around the park’s gazebo to create shelter for $1,500. Mayor Hunter Mortensen asked Frisco Public Works Director Jeff Goble whether he was worried about a person inhabiting the enclosed gazebo.
Earlier in February, Town Council discussed making the park at 828 Meadow Drive safer because its proximity to the Frisco Transfer Center has the police department responding to calls in the area somewhat regularly to deal with suspicious people and illegal camping.
Goble said the gazebo wouldn’t be heated or fully enclosed, with the tarps mainly acting as a wind block.
“The end of the gazebo that faces the street would remain open, and the end of the gazebo that faces the pond would remain open,” Goble said. “So it would just be the sides to kind of block off the wind and give a comfortable place for people to put their skates on and get ready and go out on the ice.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jessica Burley wondered if the ATV could be electric. Goble said that the department didn’t look into it but that they could see if it is possible. However, he mentioned that providing electrical service to the storage shed to charge the vehicle might pose a challenge.
Council member Dan Fallon was excited for the improvements and how it could cause a snowball effect of activity and upgrades. He said he wouldn’t mind seeing another picnic table, and eventually the park could grow to maybe include a rental skate program and possibly a cafe truck to provide hot beverages.
“It’s a great opportunity to highlight Meadow Creek Park in the winter, demonstrate how this kind of activity and this kind of investment can really help animate an unused area,” Fallon said. “… This is going to be an experiment in outdoor ice management. … It will be easier to send people out there to have some fun knowing that it’s a little bit safer.”
Though the money is approved, Goble said there are three major challenges that remain in improving the ice. One is the warm weather. Goble said at least 4 inches of ice is needed to get on the pond by foot with snow blowers to start clearing the ice.
“It’s mid-November already, and the ice probably couldn’t hold a small dog on it right now,” Goble said Nov. 9.
Another roadblock is ice fishing. In previous years, the pond has sometimes needed to pause ice skating when holes drilled into the ice caused the surface to flood with water. Goble said they’re figuring out if they can give the fishers an area off to the side that would be safe for ice fishing that would prevent holes being drilled in the middle of the rink.
Yet the main hurdle is finding and hiring the seasonal employee who wants to dedicate roughly 20 hours a week to the rink.
“Public works will be able to dedicate some time, but we’re currently four people short on staff, and we still do have to plow snow and remove snow from town,” Goble said.
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