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Ice Rink Parties This Week To Raise Money For Wicker Park Skating Season

By Alisa Hauser | October 11, 2016 12:48pm | Updated on October 13, 2016 8:26am
 The Wicker Ice rink opened on Jan. 17 to great fanfare, despite the bitter cold temperatures.
Wicker Ice Rink Opening Week
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WICKER PARK — A community-funded ice skating rink will return to Wicker Park's namesake park in December and there are two opportunities this week to support the forthcoming amenity, according to posts on the "Wicker Ice" Facebook page.

All profits from a Wednesday night Blackhawks home opener game-watching party at Bar De Ville, 701 N. Damen Ave. and a family-friendly fundraiser at 3 p.m. Saturday at Sportsman's Club, 948 N. Western Ave. will be given to the rink committee, which is trying to raise $20,000. UPDATE: Due to the Cub's game, this event has been rescheduled to next Saturday, Oct. 22.

The Wednesday party will include a raffle for Blackhawks tickets and drink specials, while the Saturday gathering will include food and drinks, plus a raffle for a Blackhawks jersey and a Weber gas grill, according to the event's Facebook page.

Beanie hats with the rink's logo will be for sale at both fundraisers. The beanie hats come in two colors, black or gray, and cost $20 each.

Located at 1425 N. Damen Ave., just south of the CTA Blue Line Damen stop, the 60-foot-wide by 120-foot-long non-refrigerated rink is scheduled to be erected and filled with water during the first weekend of December.

The opening date will be determined by when the water freezes, according to Wicker Ice coordinator Doug Wood.

The topic of skate rentals and how to offer the rentals will be discussed at a planning meeting, open to the public, at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the park field house. During the rink's first season last winter, there was no skate rentals.

Wood said several folks are working on skate rental details including: source, hours of distribution, who distributes them, cost, maintenance, storage, liability and dates of distribution.

Though the rink was bought and fully paid for last year, Wood said that the amenity requires an additional $20,000 to maintain this winter and in each upcoming year.

In addition to skate rental feasibility, at Tuesday's meeting volunteers will hash out installation fees, new protective fencing, new lighting, resurfacing needs, equipment and special emergency repair costs in the event of huge storms, Wood said. 

"We are aiming for another $20,000 for long-term support to be raised each year. This will come from fundraisers, rink wall ads, hat sales, donations, etc." Wood said.

Outside of a smattering of private ice rinks, there are just eight free outdoor rinks in Chicago Park District parks.  

For more information on the Wicker Park Advisory Council and the rink, which is working in partnership with the Chicago Park District, visit the group's website or email Wood to get involved.

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