Ridgeland Common ice rink will stay open year-round

Park board approved 12-month operation of Hruby Ice Arena in September

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By Marty Farmer

Sports Editor

With a pair of undefeated high school football teams and a burgeoning youth football program in town, football is justifiably all the rage in Oak Park these days.

Ice rink sports enthusiasts however, will be happy to know that the Paul Hruby Ice Arena at Ridgeland Common will operate year-round, providing open skating, figure skating and hockey lessons and leagues when Ridgeland Common reopens in 2014.

The park board of the Park District of Oak Park made its decision to keep the ice rink open all year at its committee of the whole meeting in September.

"Since planning for Ridgeland Common began in 2007, many residents have voiced their desire for year-round ice. We have listened to our residents and, after careful consideration, the park board accepted staff's recommendation to provide a 12-month ice operation," park board President Jessica Bullock stated on the park district website.

The decision to operate the Paul Hruby Ice Arena year-round was reached after the park board reviewed data from multiple ice arenas open 12 months a year. Community feedback also played a major role in the decision to offer skating and hockey options for Oak Park residents along with residents of neighboring suburbs and Chicago.

"The comments we have received have all been positive," said Diane Stanke, the park district's director of marketing and customer service. "A number of coaches have reacted with excitement towards the future hockey season. In addition to hockey and figure skating lessons, we hope to offer some unique programs in the summer months such as broom ball leagues or classes, curling and speed skating. We also hope to offer more open skate and family skate time slots."

Due to the energy efficiency of the renovated Ridgeland Common, the Paul Hruby Ice Arena is expected to operate at a financially viable utility cost.

Overall, the Ridgeland Common Renovation Project is progressing along as expected, according to Stanke. Ridgeland Common was originally built in 1962. Discussions about renovating the facility and grounds began in 2007.

"The Ridgeland Common Renovation Project is currently on time and on budget," she said. "Curbing is being installed around the sports field and utility work is currently taking place. The new tot pool is taking shape. The wood roof in the interior was bead-blasted, bringing it back to its natural look."

Since March, renovations have been underway including expansion of the ice rink to official size (85-by-200 feet); a new pool and ice rink locker rooms; three multi-purpose rooms for programs/rentals; a synthetic turf field equipped with new lighting and fencing for baseball, softball and soccer; a relocated dog park; new children's water feature; new pool gutters, mechanicals and pipe replacement.

The synthetic turf field and dog park are expected to open in spring 2014, while the Ridgeland Common facility is slated to reopen in summer 2014. It remains to be seen whether the ice rink and swimming pool will open simultaneously or in a staggered fashion next summer.

Email: marty@oakpark.com Twitter: @OakParkSports

Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

Suffer Fools Gladly from Oak Park   

Posted: October 3rd, 2013 3:12 PM

The meters I was referring to currently exist along Lake St in front of RC. There will be no meters in the PD-owned RC parking lot. Parking meters are the full purview of the VOP, not the PD.

Good Grief  

Posted: October 3rd, 2013 10:01 AM

They are putting parking meters in the Ridgeland lot?

Suffer Fools Gladly from Oak Park  

Posted: October 3rd, 2013 9:41 AM

Re parking...from the meetings I attended, there is a larger staging/drop off area, meaning you can stop in front to retrieve your bags in inclement weather. At 11 PM, there should likely be plenty of spots on site. Parking meter times in front can & are being negotiated with the VOP, as are slots in the garage. It's not full at night (which is another issue, but I digress). Short of the PDOP buying up the church, it is what it is...we make it work.

Suffer Fools Gladly from Oak Park  

Posted: October 3rd, 2013 9:33 AM

Hubris, that's where I thought you might be going. You obviously missed the recent UN report that ratchets back the hysteria around climate change. Per the WSJ, the report "is significant because it points to the very real possibility that, over the next several generations, the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet." So as is OP custom, we're ahead of the curve. Also, the main users of summer ice will be figure skaters.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 3rd, 2013 12:58 AM

Some of these comments are getting really juvenile.

JP from Oak Park  

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 6:52 PM

I, for one, can't wait to see the hockey mom vs the pool mom come summer. Hockey mom has a hockey stick, pool mom has a swim noodle. I bet on the hockey mom hard stick and i am guessing the grumpy old man will take the pool mom as they are both armed with limp noodles.


Posted: October 2nd, 2013 5:43 PM

now that was really funny... "kick a dog or something really grumpy old man like". It makes me want to go buy a giant Cadillac and take up two, maybe three, parking spots at the grocery store and go buy a jug of cheap read wine and sit sipping it on my front porch and complain about the leaves from my neighbors tree falling on my lawn.


Posted: October 2nd, 2013 5:39 PM

Hey there grumpy old man. There was never a time when the world didn't revolve around entitled boors. Just a time before the world wide interweb allowed people have a place so that the common man, like you, to speak up. Enjoy your day and go tell a kid to get off your lawn or kick a dog or something really grumpy old man like.


Posted: October 2nd, 2013 5:32 PM

maybe you also missed the plastic grass they are putting in next to the year round rink. talk about not being "green", the heat coming off the field will make the whole neighborhood a tropical zone.


Posted: October 2nd, 2013 5:22 PM

Just sayin': no matter you you spin it, the extravagance of maintaining an ice rink in the height of the summer to placate a few hockey coaches flies in the face of Oak Park's "greener than thou" posture....errr....policy. There's one of OP's cryptic "350" global warming signs on the Ridgeland viaduct adjacent to the facility, but I guess that was last month's flavor. PS: I never realized hockey players were such delicate flowers.

Grumpy Old Man from Oak Park  

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 5:11 PM

I never played hockey or toted a hockey bag. But I did grow up in a time where the world wasn't expected to revolve around whinny, entitled boors.

walk a mile in my shoes  

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 5:01 PM

ever carry a hockey bag? ever play hockey until 11:00 pm and have to walk out carry a bag several blocks in the snow? two blocks of parking, with snow mounds between the unshovled sidewalks and your cars. multistory parking garage is more than 100 yards and it is permit parking at night, idiot. youth hockey has four teams at the rink at the same time, two on deck two on ice, back to back all morning. heap praise on a bad plan and it does not become a good plan. idiots.

Suffer Fools Gladly from Oak Park  

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 4:55 PM

OK, Hubris...what exactly is your point? Likely, you are incapable of formulating one.


Posted: October 2nd, 2013 3:51 PM

Global warming, schmobal warming. Why not a year around sledding hill too?

Healthy from OP  

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 2:47 PM

Find a way for safe drop offs and pick ups but there is plenty of parking elsewhere. Otherwise, very excited for the new structure!

to Parking  

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 11:07 AM

You want front row "lazy parking" so you can go and exercise while skating? Give me a break.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 10:56 AM

Um, there is a multi-level parking garage 100 yards from the entrance of the new RC. There are 2 blocks of parking spaces on the south side of the L tracks. For big events there is the church lot. Does it mean one does a bag/kid drop in front & then parks? Yes. We're supposed to be a health conscious town. Walk a half a block. There is plenty of parking in a 1 block radius. We aren't entitled to park within 5 feet of the building.


Posted: October 2nd, 2013 10:38 AM

Parking? mass transit it; be creative; think!!!!


Posted: October 2nd, 2013 10:17 AM

and what about parking? limited parking on site and only a few coin meters which the police watch like hawks on saturday mornings.

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