Residents to raise ice rink at Brookline ballfield

BROOKLINE – Townspeople will gather for opening day at the town ballfield Saturday morning but not to play baseball.

Instead, volunteers will meet for an old-fashioned rink raising, a collaboration to build an ice-skating rink.

The rink is being financed with more than $5,000 in donations raised during a drive spearheaded by Selectman Tad Putney.

Donations are covering the costs of lumber and other rink components. Funds were also needed to prepare the area, including rearranging telephone poles and bringing in fill to level the ground.

Putney said the rink raising is weather-dependent: If the temperatures rise or significant snow is predicted, the effort will be rescheduled.

Weather permitting, Putney said, the building project will begin at 9 a.m., and the fire department will arrive at noon to begin flooding the rink.

Putney began the drive several months ago with the goal of raising $5,000 by Nov. 1 to get a purchase on materials.

He was hoping to find 50 families to donate $100 each or 100 families to donate $50 a piece. Instead, donations ranging from $10 to $200 flooded in, eventually surpassing the goal by more than $500.

From the beginning, Putney envisioned construction of the rink as a communitywide effort in the spirit of an old-fashioned barn raiser.

So far, the new rink is nameless. Early on, the selectman wondered aloud if the ice rink should be named the “Centennial Skating Rink” to honor the gift of the field to the town in 1909 at the annual Town Meeting.

On March 8, 1909, the town accepted the land from four local residents, Orville Fessenden, Clarence Russell, Samuel Swett and Walter Corey.