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Evergreen West Park skating areas will close

The city of Woodbury is permanently closing ice skating areas at Evergreen West Park.

In part due to low attendance and difficulties maintaining ice, the city plans to scrap both the park's ice hockey rink and pleasure skating area with plans for future upgrades in other areas of the park.

Evergreen West Park saw about 2,000 visitors for skating last winter, which is about half the draw of nearby parks. City staffers witnessed the skating areas at the park go completely unused for longer than a week in past years.

The soil in the park also tends to stay warmer because of nearby wetlands, which may be driving away users who are willing to travel for a better quality of ice, Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Mike Adams said.

Shawnee and Kargel parks will still be open this season, as well as the refrigerated outdoor rink at Bielenberg Sports Center.

Before flooding the rinks, city crews tend to "play it by ear," Adams said. Typically, they wait for stretches of sub-freezing before moving ahead.

"It's a bit of a guessing game," Adams said.

Newly built storm ponds have also scaled back the size of an open pleasure skating area.

Wet grounds in the summer months have required regular playground maintenance, such as replacing soggy wood chips. With the future removal of both skating areas, the city is planning to possibly relocate the playground to the site of the hockey rink.

The city is considering opening the warming houses for winter rental and recreation activities since it won't be occupied.

Improvement costs have yet to be determined, Adams said, because his department is first seeking the neighbor's input.

Those with ideas or questions can contact Adams at madams@ci.woodbury.mn.us.

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