Fund drive for ice rink hits pay dirt

BROOKLINE – Ice skaters will have a rink this year, thanks to 52 families who donated $3,884 for materials needed to build and maintain the rink inside the town ball field.

The donations are the result of a drive that began three weeks ago, spearheaded by Selectman Tad Putney.

“I can’t think of a worse time in the last 25 years to raise $5,000 in three weeks,” Putney said Wednesday, after forwarding an e-mail thanking donors for their support.

The selectman said donations ranged from $10 to $200.

To get a purchase discount on the materials, Putney had to collect the funds by today.

He said he plans to order a large piece of plastic and materials necessary for ice resurfacing and maintenance. In addition, he will ask for donations of boards from local businesses. Putney is continuing to accept donations to pay for portable toilets at the rink.

A community “rink raising” will be held on a weekend day sometime between the middle and end of December, depending on the weather, Putney added.

The best time to construct a skating rink is after about a week of cold temperatures and no precipitation, he said.

Putney said support for the project was heartwarming.

“It’s great to see a number of individuals and families have stepped forward, shown their generosity,” he said, observing that donations poured in as tax bills were being mailed out.

The father of three young children said his ice skates are sharpened, and he’s not the only resident anticipating skating season.

“Someone wrote telling me his wife gave him a pair of ice skates three years ago for Christmas,” Putney said, adding that other residents have suggested holding a skate swap before the season begins.

Brookline had an outdoor ice rink years ago.

Recently, the town’s recreation commission voted to support a request from Putney to let the community use the ball field for ice skating, with one condition: that residents come up with the cash to build and maintain the rink.

“I think a lot of people will go, most definitely,” Sturtevant said.

Putney contacted six New England towns that have outdoor ice rinks and took notes on what they had to say: keep skaters off the ice when temperatures rise and the ice softens; and maintain the ice to provide a consistent surface.

Officials from each of the towns added that their rinks had been well-used.

In the e-mail Putney sent to donors Tuesday, he said he was sending out letters acknowledging donations, proof residents could use to claim tax deductions for their gifts.

According to a town history, at the annual Town Meeting on March 8, 1909, the town accepted land from four residents that was to become the ball field

“The first week in March is the centennial of the land,” the selectman said, wondering aloud if the town should name the ice rink “Centennial Skating Rink” in honor of the gift made to the town 100 years ago by Orville Fessenden, Clarence Russell, Samuel Swett and Walter Corey.

For more information or to make a contribution to the ice rink fund, call Tad Putney at 672-4229.

Donations may be sent to Putney at 8 Milford St., Brookline, NH 03033, and checks should be made out to “Town of Brookline.”