After reemerging last winter in Kiwanis Park, Brookfield’s ice skating rink has been relocated to Jaycee/Ehlert Park for 2006. According to Mary Pezdek, the Brookfield Recreation Department’s program coordinator, the rink is ready to roll?”if only the weather would cooperate.

“The water is in there now,” Pezdek said. “Hopefully it will get cold enough to freeze.”

The rink is located just south of the parking lot along Shields Avenue, just west of the main fire station. The decision to move the 45-by-80 foot rink from Kiwanis Park to Ehlert Park was simply a topographical one, said Pezdek. The land where the rink was located simply wasn’t level.

“We had one part where the ice was 4 inches deep, and just 2 inches deep on the shallow end,” Pezdek said. “That end got really beat up.”

Although the village once had a winter ice rink at Madlin Park, a small playing field at the intersection of Madison and Lincoln avenues, the village opted for Ehlert Park for a couple of reasons.

First, staff feared that children walking to and from S.E. Gross School, which is near Madlin Park, would create an ice surface maintenance problem. Secondly, Ehlert Park is near a ready water supply, the fire department.

As soon as the weather gets cold enough, Pezdek said that staff will check on the condition of the ice surface on a daily basis. If it’s hard enough, they’ll post a “skate at your own risk” sign. Rink hours, like park hours, are from dawn to dusk.

Brookfield is reusing the high-density plastic rink liner from last year. New liners cost roughly $1,000. Last year the Recreation Department bought all of the equipment to set up the rink for between $3,000 and $4,000. That cost was defrayed partially by sponsorships from First National Bank of Brookfield, Hancock Engineering and Crown Disposal and Recycling. Each of those businesses kicked in $1,000 for a three-year sponsorship. Their banners will be displayed near the rink again this year.

Wait ’til next year in Riverside

Meanwhile, the ice rink frame, which was ready and waiting for cold weather to finally hit, has been dismantled and put in mothballs for 2006.

Last Friday, Riverside Recreation Director Laure Kosey announced that the unseasonably warm weather forced the village to forgo the rink in Riverside’s Big Ball Park at Longcommon and Delaplaine roads, this year.

With that announcement, Kosey also cancelled that annual Family Skate, which had been planned for Jan. 21 at the ice rink. According to Kosey, the cancellation was the result of many factors, not the least of which was weather.

“It takes a good four days of cold weather before the ice rink even sets,” she said. “Plus it’s an investment to put the liner down.”

Daytime temperatures below 32 degrees are not forecast until at least Jan. 18.

Kosey explained that the $2,500 liner was donated by the Riverside Junior Women’s Club and that “we want to get as much use out of it as we can.”

“We already missed the kids school vacation time,” Kosey added “So it wasn’t one thing, it about six things.”

Kosey said the liner donated this year will be put in storage and used next year.