There will be skating at the Meachem Ice Rink in Syracuse’s Valley neighborhood starting in October.
The rink closed earlier this year after a series of mechanical problems made it impossible to make ice. State Sen. Dave Valesky and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli combined forces to get more than $450,000 from the state’s capital budget to pay for installation of an ice mat.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says it is the latest innovation in the ice rink world.
"What’s going to happen is we’re going to lift the boards and pour concrete. That will allow a mat to be put down which has pipes in it which will freeze water on top," Miner said. "Between when Sunnycrest was done, which had the same infrastructure that fell apart earlier, and now doing Meachem, ice rinks have changed. Rockefeller Center has the same technology, and the National Hockey League is also utilizing the same technology.”
Assistant City Parks Commissioner John Walsh says the new mat system has proven to be durable. The mat has pipes in it that will freeze water that’s poured on top.
"If you leave it down, it can last a long time," Walsh said. "When you take it up and down, that tends to make it brittle for longer than ten years. So it should work, and I would say way more than ten years because of the way we’re going to use it."
Walsh adds that it doesn't change the quality of the ice, either.
“No difference in the ice. All it is is a different way of putting coolant through the system," Walsh explained. "Instead of under the floor it's on top of it. A lot of rinks have that.”
Meachem is home to city skate programs, ice hockey clubs and the Corcoran High School hockey team. The rink attracts 24,000 skaters every year.