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Is it cold enough yet?

Each year people wait anxiously for an outdoor recreation opportunity that only occurs in Cedar Rapids in the winter. Some years, it doesn't exist at all. While kids may get ice skates for Christmas and wait eagerly for the ground ice rinks at Bever Park and Arthur School to open, Old Man Winter sometimes decides not to let them play.

The Parks and Recreation Department uses plastic liners to aid in the freezing of ice. The framework for the rinks are placed at Bever and Arthur in November and then we wait. Prior to installing the liners, 4 inches of frost is needed to assist in promoting the ice freezing process. To achieve this, at least one full week of near zero temperatures is required. If snow is present, it acts as an insulating blanket interfering with the freezing process.

Once we have built up four inches of frost, the liners are installed and filled with 8 to 12 inches of water. A minimum of three nights with below zero temperatures are needed to freeze the water into ice that is safe for skating. Daytime temperatures must stay below 32 degrees over this 72-hour time span to keep the ice frozen. Filling the liners without having the low temperatures results in an unsupervised open pond which isn't safe for kids.

We often get inquiries after a cold blast, wondering why the ice isn't ready. The last few years we have experienced warm fronts that come through sometime within the seven to ten-day freezing period, spiking temperatures over 32 degrees which melts the ice.

The rink frameworks are ready at Bever and Arthur this year and we are hopeful that they will be filled with hockey players and figure skaters this winter season. To check on openings, watch the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department’s Facebook page or call 286-5700.

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