July 16, 2007
Norton Park rallies around rink
By Patrick Garmoe
Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, Norton Park
resident Chuck Oliver was never far from a place to whack a puck.
“I could see the rink right behind my backyard,
through the woods,” he said. “There seemed to be rinks
Pickup neighborhood hockey games were as routine
as a winter chill.
After getting married, Oliver moved back to the
old neighborhood so his three kids could grow up skating at Norton
Park’s hockey rink.
“Nowadays,” Oliver said of the neighborhood
rinks, “we’re losing them left and right.”
Which is why Oliver, along with a small army of
his neighbors in Norton Park, are in the midst of trying to hold
onto a piece of their past — and, they hope, their future.
For 10 years, the Norton Park Community Club has
been discussing ways to repair the old hockey rink, with asphalt
marred by cracks, weeds and broken pipes.
“We’ve decided just resurfacing it
is the way to go,” said Steve Abramson, Norton Park Community
Club’s president. This also will create a nice surface for
skaters and basketball players, Abramson said.
Ripping up, removing and replacing the asphalt
would cost about $50,000.
To pay for it, proponents hope to get a piece
of the city’s share of federal Community Development Block
If they get the cash, it won’t be until
The City Council decided 7-2 last week to put
on hold new improvement project requests like this for at least
a year, so a master future facilities construction plan can be written.
“We just think if we don’t do anything,
it’s going to deteriorate and it’s all going to fall
apart and there will be nothing there,” Oliver said.
The pleasure rink near the wrecked hockey rink
is constantly crowded with hockey players and casual ice skaters,
creating an unsafe condition, Abramson said.
Neighbors argue there’s an acute need for
more space for kids and teams wanting to play hockey, because indoor
ice time is expensive.
Now it appears summer of 2009 would be the earliest
the new rink would be done.
Meanwhile, Abramson, Oliver and several friends
and neighbors plan to repaint the boards and do other small fixes.
Kyle Conley, 17, of Norton Park grew up playing
on the hockey rink and still plays pick-up games at the pleasure
Even when he was 5 or 6, skating on the old hockey
rink was tough going.
“It’s really uneven. You can’t
really skate on it,” Conley said.