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Downtown Fargo ice rink planned for next three winters

FARGO -- After drawing a fair-sized crowd for its downtown ice rink in its inaugural winter, the Downtown Community Partnership is planning to re-open the rink for three more winters.

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Heather Klein, left, from Minneapolis, skates with her daughter, Ryleigh, 4, and her sister, Hilery Klein from Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015 at the new ice rink in downtown Fargo. Located at Main Avenue and Broadway, the rink's hours will be 1 to 9 p.m. during the holiday break and weekends and 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays.David Samson / The Forum
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FARGO - After drawing a fair-sized crowd for its downtown ice rink in its inaugural winter, the Downtown Community Partnership is planning to re-open the rink for three more winters.

"The enthusiasm was fantastic, usage was also greater than we expected," said Matt Magness, president of the Park Board, which manages the rink for the downtown merchants' group.

The rink would again be in a city parking lot northeast of the corner of Main Avenue and Broadway if the City Commission approves a lease for the DCP at its meeting Monday, Nov. 7.

In its first winter in 2015-2016, the downtown rink attracted 1,403 skaters, or about 30 a day, making it the fifth-most popular of 13 ice rinks managed by the park system. The most popular rink located at Roosevelt Park had 3,327 skaters. The median usage was 718.

The downtown rink's popularity this year will probably depend partly on how warm the winter is, Magness said. In recent years, though not last year, there have been several warm days that cause ice rinks to get slushy, which makes them unpleasant to use on not just those warms days but also cold days when the slush refreezes with rough ridges.

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If the City Commission approves the lease, the Park District would set up an 80-foot-by-80-foot rink on the west end of the parking lot, with a temporary warming house and restrooms erected on the lawn immediately west.

To make up for the loss of 24 parking stalls, the Park District will make its parking lot at the Island Park Pool available.

The downtown rink would be open from 5 to 8 p.m. weekdays and 1 to 8 p.m. weekends during the Park District's regular ice-rink season, which begins in December and ends in February.

The lease for the city parking lot, priced at a nominal $1 per season, would go from Dec. 1 to April 15 in 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Magness said the lease has to go into spring because uninstalling the rink is tough when everything is still frozen to the ground.

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