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Burton Street skating rinks have rich history, melting budget

The ice-skating season at the Burton Street rinks may be ending in the coming weeks. While the season started considerably early three months ago, unpredictable weather patterns and a dwindling budget have subsequently forced coordinators to set a tentative closing date for Feb. 27.

Funds that keep the rinks open each year are drawn from the Joint Recreation Program. The budget is shared between the village and town of Cazenovia, the town of Nelson and the town of Fenner. The four municipalities contribute finances according to the percentage of residents that use the skating rinks.

This year, the village of Cazenovia drew a limited amount of supplemental funds from another line in their budget in order to prolong the skating season. Board members encouraged the three other entities to do the same, while understanding that municipal budgets are tight for unanticipated expenses.

Cazenovia Village Trustee and Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Amy Mann was sad to see the season come to an end, but pleased with record number of participants who enjoyed the rinks this year.

"We have had many happy customers this winter, the downside is that it has depleted the allocated funds," Mann said. "I thank everyone who came and enjoyed the ice this winter, the village DPW, the attendant staff for creating a safe and fun environment and the other municipalities who were able to kick in some extra funds at a tough time."

Before the land on Burton Street became rinks in the early 1950s, local skaters looked to a flooded Lakeland Park for their fun. Since the ice-skating rinks' construction, they have been host to thousands of fun-seekers and the birthplace of the Cazenovia Youth Hockey Association.

The facilities include an enclosed hockey rink, complete with an asphalt base and surrounding boards, a cement shelter, as well as a natural rink, flooded by the Department of Public Works workers; all are overseen by an attendant seven days a week.

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