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Bielenberg Sports Center kicks off outdoor pleasure skating season

Families and figure skaters turned out for the grand opening of the Bielenberg Sports Center’s outdoor ice rink on Nov. 30. The event was highlighted by a tree lighting ceremony. 2 / 10
Choir students from East Ridge High School sang Christmas carols during the grand opening ceremony. 3 / 10
The grand opening of the outdoor ice rink drew several families to the Bielenberg Sports Center. Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt says the facility will give families more options for outdoor recreation. 4 / 10
Not everyone is used to skating just yet. Some needed a little guidance, or a helping hand. 5 / 10
The lobby of the Bielenberg Sports Center provides a nice space to warm up, and the large windows allow non-skaters to watch the action on the outdoor ice. 6 / 10
Skate rental is available for $2 per pair. Figure skates and hockey skates are available. 7 / 10
Two young skaters waited for the Zamboni to get done grooming the outdoor ice before the rink’s grand opening ceremony.8 / 10
White holiday lights festooned the railings that surround the outdoor ice at Bielenberg Sports Complex. Participants skated under the holiday lights for several minutes before rink staff brought up the regular outdoor lighting.9 / 10
Some visitors had to be content to watch from the outside of the rink. 10 / 10

Sunday was one of the coldest days so far this winter, but it was just about perfect for the grand opening of Bielenberg Sports Center’s outdoor ice rink.

The rink opened to the public on Nov. 22, but the city of Woodbury celebrated its official opening with a tree lighting ceremony Nov. 30. The rink was festooned with white lights, and a tall holiday tree, placed at the end of the rink, was lit by Wes Walz.

Though this was the first such tree lighting at the outdoor rink, Woodbury Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt hopes to make it an annual event to kick off the outdoor pleasure skating season.

The outdoor rink is the latest project to be completed as part of the Bielenberg Sports Center’s $22 million expansion. This is the first year the outdoor rink is in service.

Designed as a pleasure skating rink, the outdoor ice is generally open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Klatt hopes it will attract families and individuals who are not part of the community’s many hockey programs.

“It’s designed as a pleasure skating rink only,” Klatt said. “We will allow the smaller kids like the mites and the termites to do some activities, but (for) the older kids and the adults, the focus is on skating and we want to build a really strong tradition of skating with parents, families and kids.”

Skate rentals are available for $2 on a first-come, first-served basis. Skate sharpening is also available, for $5.

The outdoor rink is cooled through a geothermal heating and cooling system, which will allow the rink to stay colder longer into the winter. It extends the outdoor skating schedule by several weeks, Klatt said.

“By having good, quality outdoor ice that’s refrigerated and they can count on day in and day out throughout the skating season, we think that’s going to draw a lot of people to this facility and give them a good reason to get outside in the winter,” he said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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