After an unfortunate snafu last January involving a water valve break, Logan officials say the outdoor ice rink at Merlin Olsen Central Park is nearly ready to open to eager skaters.

The decades-old tradition of skating at the park was interrupted last January when a valve broke, sending water onto the ice rink and washing away a snowpack that crews spent weeks preparing.

“We’d like to get beyond last year,” said Russ Akina, Logan Parks and Recreation director.

There are two things necessary for the rink to be operational: temperatures below freezing and plenty of snow, according to Akina.

This year, city employees started early trying to get the snow packed down and promoting the buildup of frost necessary to sustain ice for the next several months, Akina said.

They also hope to create their own snow using an old snow machine supplied by Beaver Mountain Ski Resort. However, the machine needs to be repaired first, said Logan Park Superintendent Ed Stephens.

Stephens’ employees are looking into fixing the machine, though none have experience with it.

“We’ll see,” Akina said. “We haven’t used a snow machine before.”

The recent cold snap and snowfall have been especially helpful in getting the rink ready by Christmas, Akina added. Now officials just need more snow to pack down.

“Our intent is to get that going before the holiday,” he said.

Though people have offered ideas on how to get the rink ready in time, Akina and Stephens said they are often impractical.

For example, people suggested trucking in snow from different locations; but then it would have to be raked to even it out, and there is likely debris in it that could lead to the breakup of the ice, Akina said.

“Mother Nature does the best thing,” he said.

Once there is enough snow on the ground — usually a good 6 to 10 inches — and it stays cold enough, the city can spray water on it to create the nice, smooth, icy layer for skating, Stephens said. Spraying with water before there is enough snow is not a good idea because it will melt the critical snowpack, he added.

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Twitter: @CarpetComm

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