The temporary ice-skating rink at Stotzky Park in Riverhead finally came to fruition on Thursday.
Plans for the rink fell through when the weather didn’t cooperate last winter, but conditions are ideal for skating this month, thanks to the recent cold snap. Skaters took to the ice for the first time ever at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and skating will continue on the 65- by 100-foot rink throughout the winter months, as long as temperatures will allow.
The rink, which was first installed in January 2012, is made with a plastic liner to hold about four inches of water, as well as PVC coping along its four sides, within Stotzky Park’s roller hockey rink. It was conceived by Riverhead councilman and former chairman of the Town’s recreation committee, George Gabrielsen, who was inspired by a similar rink in the Village of Westhampton Beach.
Unlike the skating facility in Mitchell Park in Greenport or private facilities like East Hampton’s Buckskill Winter Club, the Riverhead rink is free and does not offer skate rentals or any type of lessons or events schedule. It is open to the public and costs nothing, just like a local pond, though skating is only permitted from 8 a.m. until the lights go out at 9 p.m.