It's a brisk January day as residents gather at the old Harrington firehouse site to participate in a favorite winter past time.
This is what village officials envision this winter should the weather cooperate and their plan for an ice skating rink be developed.
"It's a new opportunity for the village," said Baldwinsville Mayor Joe Saraceni.
Saraceni proposed the project to the village board at the Dec. 5 board meeting, adding that estimates for the project were relatively inexpensive. The village would install a plastic layer over the old Harrington Firehouse remains, which overlooks the Seneca River, fill it with water and wait for Mother Nature to freeze it.
"We're not making ice, we're praying for it," Saraceni said.
The result would be an 80- by 140-foot rink for visitors. The estimated cost for the plastic film is between $600 and $800. Saraceni added that Hills Farnham and Hills gave an estimate of $300 per year to provide insurance to the village for the program. The insurance policy requires the rink to be blockaded from cars and a "skate at own risk" sign to be installed. No staff is required to monitor skaters.
"There is going to be a lot of cost personnel wise to do this," said Mace Markham of the Department of Public Works.
However, Saraceni said that the location of the ice rink would get people downtown to skate in evenings, which would be an attraction for the downtown area and would benefit businesses while getting families together. He did note a previous effort to place an ice skating rink on the basketball courts in Mercer Park, which failed because a five-foot damn was needed to level the rink out.
The board supported the effort and plans to identify specific uses of the rink, hours of use and programs to offer.
Environmental Design and Research will develop a detailed plan for the old Harrington Firehouse and surrounding lot.
EDR presented a preliminary design at a recent village board meeting. After a positive meeting with stakeholders (residents and business owners), village officials decided to adopt EDR's concept. EDR is now working with the village engineer to develop a detailed plan that includes cost estimates and a timeline, but the village board has the ultimate decision.
"(The plans) definitely will be tweaked as we move through the process," Saraceni said.