Group Pushes for Skating Rink in Waveny Park this Winter

data blogOctober 15, 2021

Momentum is building for the construction of an open-air ice skating rink in New Canaan’s Waveny Park this winter.

The nonprofit New Canaan Ice Rink has received conditional approval from the town for a site in the park and is scheduled to appear before the town’s Board of Selectmen later in October to present a more detailed funding plan, according to Rita Bettino, a volunteer and spokesperson for the group.

Bettino estimates that New Canaan Ice Rink needs a minimum of $250,000 in available funding just to get a bare-bones skating rink up and running this winter. To date, the nonprofit has raised about $75,000, according to Bettino, but the organization is planning a fundraising and awareness blitz through the end of the month to pump up donations and make more people aware of the effort.

Representatives will be at two events in the town this weekend. They’ll have a booth at the New Canaan Farmers Market on Saturday (October 16), and will also be at Sunday’s (October 17) Caffeine and Carburetors event in Waveny Park.

image of young girl skating in an ice rink with holiday lights in the background

On Wednesday, October 20th, The White Buffalo restaurant will host a fundraiser beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here or at the door. There will be a 50/50 raffle and raffles for a new pair of ice skates and a spa certificate. New Canaan’s School of Rock band will perform and food will be available.

There’s also a silent auction underway where additional funds are being raised. The silent auction will conclude October 20th at 8:30 p.m. There are some amazing auction items to bid on, including a Vegas Golden Knights Extravaganza that includes tickets to a game where you can watch and meet former New Canaan High School standout Max Pacioretty, rounds of golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, NY, and Woodway Country Club in Darien, two round-trip tickets on Tradewind Shuttle, a tour of the Glass House, and many other auction items.

If a rink is constructed, it would be 60 feet wide and 120 feet long and would be located in an unpaved parking area that’s adjacent to the Orchard Field softball diamonds at Waveny. Gene Goodman, a longtime proponent of an outdoor skating facility in New Canaan, said if the necessary funds are raised and there are no installation delays, an ice surface could be ready this winter.

Goodman said the rink would be sparse to start with some outdoor seating available for parents and spectators. Future improvements would include a warming hut, a refreshment area, and a shop where skates could be rented and sharpened.

Image of a family dressed in casual ice skating gear, while looking up at the camera

If New Canaan Ice Rink reaches its fundraising goal of $250,000, Bettino said most of it would be used for capital and an operating budget for a 4- to 6-week season.

Operating costs would include the installation of the rink, the cooling infrastructure to maintain the ice, staffing, water, electricity, insurance, and any administrative overhead. To date, all fundraising and administrative work has been provided pro-bono by the group’s volunteers, Bettino said.

Goodman says the long-term goal for New Canaan Ice Rink would be a facility that would provide New Canaan residents with a place to gather and have fun in the winter that could also benefit local businesses. Although the rink would be used primarily for recreational skating in a Normal Rockwell-like setting, Goodman said it could also be available for use by local hockey teams for practices during times when there is no public skating.

The logo of the New Canaan Ice Rink