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Multi-use skate facility discussed for Perham

An all-season approach to a skatepark--which would be transformed into an ice skating-hockey rink in the winter, was discussed by the Perham Parks and Recreation Board May 26.

The idea is to create a cement pad, perhaps at least 50-feet wide by 100 feet, that could then be flooded for skating, The concept was well received by park board members.

"If we can get double use out of it, that would be great," said Councilman Jim Johnson, who is also the Perham council's liaison to the park board.

Dave Neisen, park board chairman, suggested that fundraising could be more effective through a joint effort by both the hockey organization and the skatepark promoters.

A concrete base provides a much better arrangement for creating and maintaining ice.

A total of $60,000 has been targeted as the sum needed to construct the skatepark. So far, the group has donations or pledges totalling nearly $40,000.

A thicker concrete pad may be necessary to properly accommodate an ice sheet. Local contractor, Hammers Construction, has submitted an estimate to the city for a six-inch thick concrete slab for about $18,000--a price comparable to an estimate from another firm for a thinner concrete pad.

"It would be nice to have two facilities," said City Manager Kelcey Klemm, noting that general skaters compete with hockey players for the ice behind the Perham Area Community Center.

The concept of a dual use skatepark and ice sheet was devised in casual discussion between Klemm and public works director Merle Meece.