Madison Parks Division is moving ahead with plans for an "adopt an ice" partnership to help maintain the city's ice rinks.
The city is currently asking residents through its "Adopt Ice Partnership" to help commit to doing maintenance at the city's eight rinks, at Tenney, Vilas, Elver, Olbrich, Warner, Westmorland, Garner Park and Goodman parks.
Steven Doniger, community services manager with Madison Parks, says the response so far has been good. Though the city staff will still be maintaining the rinks, they're looking for help. "The simplest thing we're trying to do is get a group of people to help shovel the snow off," he says. They're also looking for people to spray down the ice at night at some of the rinks, where possible.
"Ideally, if we could get a commitment from 12 to 16 individuals [at each rink] to work as a crew, that would be a good number," Doniger says. "Because then you could assign different nights and days, with groups of two to four people."
"I think we're going to have folks at just about every rink out there," he adds. "If they can't do everything, we'll at least have folks who can help out."
Although the program was originally pitched by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz as a budget saving measure, Doniger says it won't likely yield big savings, but will mean better-maintained ice. "The money in the budget was associated with the water, not with the staffing issues," he says. Doniger says the city is looking for ways to use less water that could save the city money.
But he adds, "If volunteers are really out there and we can get a considerable amount of the snow removed, it's obviously going to save us money on overtime."
The city is having a meeting for anyone interested in volunteering for ice maintenance at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Warner Park Community Center. Training sessions will later be held at the individual rinks, he says.
Doniger says the effort to get volunteers to help out at city parks isn't new. "We're very encouraged by the response we've gotten," he says. "We're going to have to crawl before we run. But we think this has great potential for the community."
For more information, see the city's parks November 2009 newsletter (PDF).