CHUBBUCK — An area businessman made the ice surface Monday for his Capell Park skating rink and hopes to have the upgraded facility open to the public by Wednesday.
Cris Schulz, owner of Pinnacle Recreation, had hoped to have the rink operational before Christmas, but bad weather delayed him. It also took him much longer than anticipated to remove old, broken cooling lines and install new secondary cooling lines.
Schulz emphasized that there’s still plenty of time left in the season and he remains optimistic about his opening year. He plans to run into March and said having a chiller will enable him to keep the rink open when temperatures are as warm as 50 degrees.
“It really paves a good foundation for years to come, just pulling this stuff out and doing it right and getting rid of the old lines,” Schulz said. “It makes it easier for future years. We’ve always seen this as a marathon and not a sprint.”
Schulz announced plans a year ago to resurrect the park’s idled outdoor rink using panels and cooling equipment salvaged from an outdoor rink that was formerly operated outside of Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
The Capell Park rink closed nearly three years ago when the community members who helped run it experienced health problems.
“There’s a huge ice skating contingent here in Pocatello,” Schulz said.
Schulz said anyone with questions about plans for the rink and anyone seeking to schedule a group event or special activity may call 208-757-3999.
Schulz said his refrigeration equipment is far more efficient and about two and a half times more powerful than the cooling equipment that had been used at the Chubbuck rink. The extra cooling capacity should enable the rink — which often had to close on warm days when the ambient temperature caused the ice to melt — to offer consistent hours of operation.
Schulz plans on operating the rink from 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. He’ll charge $8 for adults and $6 for children, including rentals.
The name of the facility will be Lakeside Rink — a nod to the American Falls Reservoir, where Schulz operates the Willow Bay Marina. He’s developing a website, lakesiderink.com.
He has a staff of four to six workers, some of whom are locals and others who work for him at Willow Bay.
Prior to moving to American Falls in 2015, Schulz ran the rink he acquired from Chicago municipal officials in Midway, Utah. He ran another outdoor rink, which he purchased from Muncie, Indiana, in American Fork, Utah.
The rink at Capell Park is 85 feet by 200 feet.
Most of the coils beneath the rink were taken from the Wrigley Field facility. He’s had to lease an additional chiller and replace all of the secondary cooling lines. He’ll resurface the ice with a Zamboni he purchased from Muncie.
Schulz has already moved a 12- by 60-foot trailer to the location, where customers will rent skates. A deck and tables will be added for putting on skates. They’ve also brought in a warming hut, where hot chocolate and snacks will be sold. Schulz also envisions having food trucks on certain days.