COAL CITY — The weather outside isn’t so frightful, but Coal City officials are hoping cold weather is in store in the weeks to come.
Village trustees approved recently a payment of $6,400 to build an ice skating rink for a second year in a row.
Trustee Georgette Vota, who is a member of the park board, said she’s eager to see the temperatures drop again so residents get plenty of use out of the rink.
“I’m hoping for cold weather,” she said. “I don’t think it’s going to stay warm forever.”
She said last year’s unseasonably warm weather cut the window for ice-skating down considerably, but she’s hoping this year will be different.
Vota said the rink is in a baseball field outfield at Lions Park, located at 460 S. Illinois St., a move from last year’s one in Campbell Park.
The village is also adding a new aspect to having the rink this year — they’ll be hosting an ice hockey tournament Jan. 11 and Jan. 12, starting at 6 p.m. Friday. The event is called the Coal City Face-Off Hockey Tournament. Vota said there is a limited number of teams the board is accepting for the tournament, 10 teams, and each team is ensured three games. The tournament’s participants must be 16 and over.
Vota said a buzz has been building about the tournament.
“I think people are kind of excited about it,” he said. “I think they’re looking forward to it.”
Vota said the idea for the tournament came from village employee Tyler Valiente, who approached the board last year to bring the rink.
Valiente, a water and sewer operator, said he thought of the idea a few years ago, but after seeing Wilmington form a tournament, he thought he should bring it up with the village. He said he’s excited that the tournament was warmly received and is in the works.
“It’s great the board’s behind me,” he said. “I’m all for this — I just hope we get a cold year for it and it doesn’t go to waste.”
He agreed that people are excited to get out and use the rink, particularly because of last year’s short season, as well as for the new two-day event.
“A lot of people are excited to play in the tournament and a lot of people are even excited to come and watch the tournament,” he said.
He said the new location will be nice in that it allows for close proximity to Lions Hall, where there will be concessions and a place for attendees to warm up.
Vota said registration forms for the tournament will be available in coming weeks. They will be posted on the the village’s website, coalcity-il.com, and the park board’s Facebook page.
Aside from the tournament, Vota said the rink hours are the same as the previous year — 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., with hockey limited to 7 to 10 p.m. every night except for Sundays and Tuesdays. Skating is free for the public.
While the rink is a big investment for the Village, Vota said last year’s rink proved popular.
“We saw the people really use it, even though it was only open three to four days,” she said. “We thought it’d be well worth the investment to do that.”