By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
Berlin Fire Company hosts portable arena provided by county
(March 12, 2020) Worcester County’s synthetic ice rink is now available for Berlin residents to use in the Berlin Fire Company’s banquet hall starting today, March 12, until the end of the month.
The rink debuted at the Worcester County Recreation Center in Snow Hill in December, with plans to move it around to various locations in the county.
The Berlin Fire Company will charge $5 per person to skate in the rink. There is no cost for spectators, though snacks and bottled water will be available for purchase.
According to Berlin Fire Company President David Fitzgerald, the rink will be a great way to raise funds for the fire company and bring “entertainment to Berlin locals.”
The rink is 32 by 52 feet, which means it must be located in a space that is 2,800 square feet of open space, or a 40-foot by 60-foot space, at a minimum. The Berlin Fire Company’s banquet hall turned out to be a perfect location.
“We appreciate any support we have from the community to come up and enjoy that rink in March while it’s still cold out,” Fitzgerald said in an earlier interview. “Our hall is heated and uses synthetic ice. You can have a nice evening or afternoon.”
Skating operations will be open for the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 6-9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 1-7 p.m.
The rink will also be available for fundraising events and other activities.
In November, the Worcester County Commissioners agreed to allow the Recreation and Parks Department to reallocate funds from special event savings to buy the synthetic ice rink. The purchase cost was $69,000, but with donations, the amount was brought down to $49,000, according to Director of Worcester County Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Economic Development Tom Perlozzo.
The synthetic ice rink was disassembled, transported, and rebuilt at the banquet hall on Tuesday.
“The ice rink is installed and will be up and running,” Allen Swiger, program manager, said.
According to Swiger, the synthetic rink has been received high praise during its time in Snow Hill.
“The reception has been wonderful,” Swiger said. “Our goal is to get into all the different towns and give everyone an opportunity to skate and so far, it’s been a successful venture.”
Perlozzo told Worcester County Commissioners during their Tuesday, Jan. 7 meeting that they were scheduling the ice rink all around the county. Besides Berlin, other locations of interest are Pocomoke Middle School and the West Ocean City outlet mall.
“The beauty of the ice rink is we can install pieces of it, it doesn’t have to be the entire unit,” Swiger said. “We can be a little bit flexible with the size and the space we can use. We’d love to get it everywhere.”