BROOKLINE – Parks and Open Space Director Erin Gallentine announces that the Town of Brookline’s Park and Recreation Commission will launch a task force to evaluate the future of the Jack Kirrane Ice Rink at Larz Anderson Park following a significant equipment breakdown at the facility.
The ice rink’s chiller, which enables the production and maintenance of the ice surface, unexpectedly suffered a major mechanical failure on April 29. The failure was identified by an internal monitoring system which detected elevated levels of brine in the chiller vessel, meaning that the chiller needs to be replaced. In the last two months, the Park and Recreation Commission held two public meetings to discuss the failure and possible next steps.
With the operation of the rink contingent upon a significant capital investment, and in recognition of its value as a community resource, as well as the fiscal challenges facing the town due to the ongoing pandemic, the Park and Recreation Commission is assembling a task force to evaluate the best path forward. As it weighs options for the future of the Kirrane Rink, the task force will consider the costs and benefits associated with maintaining an ice skating facility, repair and replacement options, short and long-term community needs as well as opportunities for strategic partnerships.
Even with a significant capital investment, replacing the ice rink’s refrigeration mechanism will require extensive planning, design and engineering work prior to construction that make it unlikely that the rink will be able to open for the upcoming skating season. However, the Commission continues to explore possible temporary options.
The seasonal ice skating rink at Larz Anderson Park has been in operation since 1958, when the Town converted the former Italianate garden to an open air outdoor ice skating facility.
The Brookline Park and Recreation Commission welcomes public involvement in the discussion about this critical component of the Town’s commitment to public health, community and recreation.
Anyone who would like to be considered for the Task Force should submit a letter of interest via email to [email protected] with JACK KIRRANE ICE RINK TASK FORCE in the subject header, or by mail to Jessica Zarni, Parks & Open Space Division, 870 Hammond St., Brookline, MA 02467
Those expressing interest are asked to include their name, address, email, phone number and any expertise or experience that may be relevant to the work of the group. Applications must be received by July 10.
All meetings will be hosted publicly via Zoom until further notice and will be posted on the Town’s meeting calendar.
“The Park and Recreation Commission is committed to providing and coordinating recreation services and programs that contribute to the health and well-being of residents of all ages and abilities,” Park and Recreation Commissioner and Task Force Chair Wendy Sheridan said. “Ice skating is a healthy and fun recreational winter activity that is clearly important to our community. Please join us by participating in the work of the Task Force. We look forward to seeing you at our first meeting.”