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posted: 1/9/2010 12:01 AM

Ice rink expected to excite downtown Lisle

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  • A.J. Bruhn enjoys the cold night air Friday while skating on the new outdoor rink at the site of the former Lisle village hall.

    A.J. Bruhn enjoys the cold night air Friday while skating on the new outdoor rink at the site of the former Lisle village hall.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer


Lisle is encouraging residents and shoppers to pack their skates next time they head into downtown.

The village has built a temporary ice rink at the old village hall site at Burlington Avenue and Main Street that will operate, weather permitting, through the winter.

The 40-by-80-foot rink was installed just before the start of the year, officials said, and already has become quite popular.

"Lisle's downtown is a four-season destination and the addition of an outdoor ice skating rink is a wonderful way to enjoy the winter months with family and friends," Mayor Joe Broda said.

Public Works Director Jason Elias said staff and village trustees were brainstorming ways to create some excitement downtown during the winter when someone suggested an ice rink.

"We were lucky to have the old village hall site that was big enough for us to put up a decent size rink," Elias said Friday. "It's been busy pretty regularly despite (the recent heavy snow) and I've already gotten some great feedback from skaters happy to have a place to go."

This is the first time the village has put up a rink but Elias said he can see it becoming an annual event if it continues to be successful.

"Kids are out here, adults are out here, it's just one of those things that a wide range of people can enjoy," he said. "It's been great."

Lisle residents Kassandra Owens and Ellen Thompson laced up their skates Friday with Owens' 5-year-old son, Matthew. They weren't shopping but had seen the rink and wanted to check it out before the temperatures plummet.

"I didn't start skating until I got older because I was a chicken when I was little," Owens said. "But it's so fun so I try to get skates on (Matthew) whenever I can so that it will just come natural to him."

Thompson has been skating for more than 20 years and said she intends to coach Matthew.

"Ladies like a guy that can take them skating in the winter so we're gonna coach him up," she said. "He'll be a hit."

Weather permitting, the ice rink will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. and should be clean and free of snow most of the time. Naperville North High School's hockey players have volunteered to maintain the ice and keep it clean.

"This is the busiest time of year for public works and we have to keep the streets clean," Elias said. "These guys volunteering to maintain the ice has been a great help."