Mixed weather in recent days has left Evanston with spotty conditions at ice rinks around the city.

Parks Director Doug Gaynor says Baker Park at Forest Avenue and Keeney Street and Larimer Park on Oak Avenue north of Crain Street have good skatable ice.

Mixed weather in recent days has left Evanston with spotty conditions at ice rinks around the city.

Parks Director Doug Gaynor says Baker Park at Forest Avenue and Keeney Street and Larimer Park on Oak Avenue north of Crain Street have good skatable ice.

Ackerman Park McDaniel Avenue and Central Street has okay ice conditions. The Dawes Park Lagoon at Sheridan Road and Church Street has very bumpy ice with some snow cover.

There’s no skatable ice, only a base layer, at Bent Park on Cowper Avenue at Central Street and at the former Kendall College site on Sherman Avenue at Lincoln Street.

Gaynor says it takes about three consecutive days of temperatures 15 degrees or lower to have sufficient frost penetration of the ground. It then takes at least six days of applying water to have ice thick enough to skate upon. A warm spell disrupts the ice-making process, and we’ve been having periodic warm spells.

In addition, Gaynor says, when it snows, crews assigned to making ice are shifted to snow removal duties at city buildings, sidewalks and parking lots.

Not having staff available to make ice adds additional days to the ice making process. The heavy snowfall last week slowed the process of creating ice at all the rink locations.

Additionally, hydrants were frozen at two locations last week. They needed to be thawed by the Water Department’s employees, which again slowed the process. Finally, work is also done within existing employee work hours; there is no overtime, adjustment in employee work hours or any type of additional expense for employees allowed.

Gaynor says there are no attendants on duty to supervise rinks, shelter houses will not be open and lights will not be turned on. Maintenance including snow removal is a low priority.

The outdoor season traditionally lasts until mid-February. With the uncertainty of the weather, Gaynor says the city averages 14 days for skating.

Residents can hear a recorded message with outdoor ice rink conditions by calling 847/859-7822, ext. 8.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Ice rink conditions
    I strongly disagree with Doug Gaynor’s assertion that the “ice rink” in Larimer Park has good skatable ice ! Perhaps he’d care to demonstrate just how skatable the ice is ? I’m not holding my breath on that. If you consider ice skatable that’s covered from end to end, side to side, with large ridges, mounds, moguls of ICE, & generally supremely bumby & hazardous overall — then I’m Evanston’s Olympic speedskater Shani Davis (I’m not !). I’ve seen the ice in the other parks, just as bad, ’nuff said.

    These poor ice conditions can’t simply be sluffed off as due to weather occurrences. The responsibility lies directly at the feet of Mr. Gaynor, & the less than competent work of his Parks/Forestry, Recreation crews. You can NOT flood a park for skating by “shooting” water from a FIRE hose 15 to 20 feet UP in the air, & expect to have skatable ice !! The unavoidable result of those efforts will always be … ice covered with large ridges, mounds, bumps, etc. It never used to be this way, but I suppose those who actually knew what they were doing, took advantage of the recent early retirement program.

    So why don’t we just end the fallacy right now of outdoor ice skating in Evanston. Very poor to worse than very poor ice surfaces, shelter houses closed, lights turned off, no attendants on duty, low priority — outdoor skating is just a sham (again, it never used to be that way !). Unfortunately, eliminating outdoor skating probably wouldn’t save much re the current budget crisis, since there’s no overtime or other adjustment of employee work hours allowed. But then again, who’s keeping tabs on the amount/cost of the water used in bungled efforts ?

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