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Downtown ice rink set to return next week, others in city parks to follow

Those wanting to go ice skating in Town Square will only have to wait a few more days. For the second straight year, the Downtown Development Association plans to open a rink on the corner of DeMers Avenue and South Third Street, and if all goes ...

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Skaters take to the ice as the skating rink in Town Square in downtown Grand Forks winter 2014. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Those wanting to go ice skating in Town Square will only have to wait a few more days.

For the second straight year, the Downtown Development Association plans to open a rink on the corner of DeMers Avenue and South Third Street, and if all goes well, skaters should be able to hit the ice next week.

The rink opened for the first time a year ago Saturday and stayed open until mid-March. This year, however, the warmer weather has postponed its opening until next week.

"We're really excited about bringing it back," said Stacey Majkrzak, the executive director of the DDA. "I know everybody has been really excited about the warm weather, but I've been sitting in my office waiting for the cold to come so we can bring this back."

The hope, she said, was to begin work on the ice rink this week, but Wednesday's snowstorm delayed the process. Majkrzak said, weather permitting, they will begin flooding Town Square Monday, which would allow people to skate on the ice once it freezes. Additional layers of ice may be added to make the foundation more stable, which is why a definitive opening date has not been set.

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Either way, Majkrzak said she hopes the ice rink is up and running by Christmas.

"We heard so much from people about how they were using it and how much they liked it," she said. "For us, the beauty of it was a really neat amenity to have in downtown during the winter. It wasn't even a question for us to bring it back this year."

The rink is free and open to the public. It is "stick-free," meaning no hockey sticks or pucks are allowed on the ice.

The Grand Forks Park District plans to open its outdoor rinks before the end of the year, Jill Nelson of the district's said. There are outdoor rinks at Ben Franklin, Cox, Elks, Exchange Club, Jaycees, Kelly, Lincoln Drive, Lion's, Optimist, Riverside and University parks, according to the district's website.

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