Rink fence suffers $2,000 in vandalism
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
March 4, 2008
GUILFORD — Less-than-wintry temperatures this season allowed for only 2½ days of skating at the new ice rink on the Green, but the Parks and Recreation Department is now footing a $2,000 bill because of vandalism to the fence surrounding the rink.
Parks and Recreation Director Rick Maynard said people broke the fence in several places. It had been put up, along with signs saying the rink was closed, to prevent people from going on the ice.
The fence was on loan from the high school’s Athletic Department, which uses it as a home- run fence for the softball field.
“That’s not usable right now, so we have to pay to replace it,” Maynard said. “We put the fence around to keep people off when it wasn’t ready to go on, (but) it really didn’t help very much.”
Maynard said the department will dismantle the temporary rink, which is made from a plastic frame and lining, sometime this week because the weather is not expected to turn cold enough again to allow skating.
“It was a noble try,” he said. “This is the winter that wasn’t. Some folks call it a good winter — I call it a bad winter because we didn’t get any snow or cold weather.”
This was the first year that the Parks and Recreation Department set up the temporary rink on the Green. The Guilford Savings Bank bought it in 2005 as part of the bank’s 130th anniversary celebration and then donated it to the town.
Maynard said that before next winter, the town will reevaluate having the rink on the Green and decide whether to locate it elsewhere.
“We’ll put it somewhere,” he said. “I think if we do it again there, we’ll want to maybe talk with the Board of Selectmen to see if we can level out that area of the Green a little bit, because it was very difficult to get that thing level.”
The rink has been located on the northeast corner of the Green, near the intersection of Park and Broad Streets.
The Police Department responded to at least five complaints about vandalism or activity on the ice during the two months the rink has been on the Green, according to police records.
Maynard said that one of the acts of vandalism prevented a day or two of skating. While the ice was soft, someone broke off pieces of it and scattered it across the rink. The ice then refroze, creating a jagged surface.
“The real culprit though was just not having enough cold weather this year,” he said. “Vandalism is certainly a concern. … The vandalism isn’t what really kept people from skating.”
Police Chief Thomas Terribile said the department had complaints about vandalism and what may have been children playing and throwing things onto the ice. He added that the incidents occurred at different times of the day and night.
“We just had the officers keep an eye on it, but they were the ones who were actually finding most of the damage when they would walk in the center,” Terribile said. “It’s the center of town, (so) we’re usually there quite a bit.”
Guilford’s other two skating areas, Bittner Park and Mill Pond, also had short or nonexistent skating seasons. Bittner did not open at all, and Mill Pond was open for four days. Last year, by contrast, both areas saw 15 to 20 days of skating.
Terribile said police did not respond to any vandalism complaints at Bittner Park or Mill Pond.