Episode 44

January 05, 2024


Spotlight episode: Learn more about the new public skating rink on the Dartmouth Green!

Hosted by

Alex Torpey
Spotlight episode: Learn more about the new public skating rink on the Dartmouth Green!
Hanover Happenings
Spotlight episode: Learn more about the new public skating rink on the Dartmouth Green!

Jan 05 2024 | 00:12:46


Show Notes

This is your Town Manager Alex Torpey with another spotlight episode.

In it, I sit down with Heather Drianan, Director, Dartmouth Government Relations, Jim Alberghini, Director Dartmouth Institutional Events & Logistics, and John Sherman, Hanover Parks and Rec Director to talk about....

This winter, check out free, public skating (BYOS(skates)) at the Dartmouth Green! Thanks to a new collaboration between the College and Hanover Parks and Rec, the rink will generally be open to the Dartmouth community and general public during daylight hours, weather permitting, starting early January. Learn more about it and the behind the scenes work to get it ready in this special spotlight episode.

If you have feedback about the project or suggestions for the future, you can email Dartmouth's Conferences and Events at [email protected], and if you would like to reserve the rink for an event, please reach out to Hanover Parks and Rec at [email protected].


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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Hi, everyone. [00:00:00] Speaker B: This is your town manager, Alex Torpy. In this spotlight episode, I sit down in town hall with Heather Dreinen and Jim Alberghini from Dartmouth College and John Sherman from Hanover Parks and Rec, and we talk a little bit about the ice skating rink that, if it stays this cold, will be shortly open on the Dartmouth green and open to not just the Dartmouth community, but the public at March. This is another really great collaboration between the town and the college. And happy to bring you a little bit of behind the scenes information, a little bit of the history, and some of the plans for this great campus and community asset. Enjoy. [00:00:44] Speaker A: All right, everybody, this is Alex Torpey, your town manager here, and I'm in town hall with a couple folks, and we have some really fun stuff to talk about, so maybe we can go around and introduce ourselves. Heather, why don't we start with you? [00:00:58] Speaker C: Very exciting. Okay, I'm Heather Dreinan. My current title is director of government relations at Dartmouth. But with the new opening of the office of Government and Community affairs, my role is shifting because we have more resources with more of a community outreach focus, which I'm pumped about. [00:01:14] Speaker A: Great. [00:01:14] Speaker D: Hey, I'm Jim Alberghini. I'm the director of logistics and institutional events at conference and events at Dardmouth and have been working. So excited to have this rink going up. [00:01:26] Speaker E: And I'm John Sherman, the parks and recreation director, and really looking forward to working with the college on the rink. [00:01:32] Speaker A: That's great. Now, I didn't warn you all that I was going to make a Parks and rec tv show joke as we started, but as a former young mayor, I don't know how many of you watch the show turn manager. There's a whole theme of the character. When he was a young mayor, it was like they built an ice skating rink that bankrupted the town. So I forever can never suggest an ice skating rink, but I'm so happy that that's something that all of you are working on. And so, Heather, Jim, maybe do you want to tell us a little bit about what the impetus was for putting this project together this year? [00:02:03] Speaker D: Sure. Well, as I think a lot of the listeners are going to know during COVID we were looking for ways to keep the students active and deal with their mental health in positive ways and be outdoors. So we put a rank up, and we learned a lot from that. We went ahead and did it another year. So with this new administration and working with Emma Wolf and Heather, I just thought this would be a great idea, so I just wrote it up as a proposal, and fortunately, president Bilock was 100% behind it. [00:02:39] Speaker A: That's great. And so for folks that haven't heard, though, I think a lot of people have heard already what's happening. I think people have probably seen some stuff happening around the green. Sure. Yeah. [00:02:50] Speaker D: So we're putting up a 70 x, 120 foot ice skating rink. It is open during daylight hours and will be open at night with lighting for some of the nights open to the public. There are not skate rentals, so you've got to bring your own skates. There'll be some benches. It's very casual. I like to think of it more kind of like all those rinks that we see in all the towns we have in the upper valley and around New England. And I don't know how many of you have been doing that, but I've been skating at some of those rinks for years, and I just thought it would be wonderful for us to have a nice community center student where we can all kind of mix it up. [00:03:36] Speaker A: And it sounds like this is a partnership between the college funding a portion of it, and the town's parks and rec department. And so how does some of the. Just for people that might be curious, how does that kind of responsibility break down? And, John, what's HPR doing to help with this project? [00:03:52] Speaker E: Right. We're going to twofold. One will be the grounds division helping out with the routine maintenance of clearing the ice after snow events, clearing the ice after it gets used heavily to make it nice and smooth again. And also, we'll be looking at programming some events there. Whether we do, like, a silent disco on the ice or something like that, or a family skate event, we're still working out the logistics on that. [00:04:19] Speaker A: And how is it maintained? I mean, do we own, or I should know this, but do we own, like, a Zamboni machine, or how does that actually get. How does the ice get maintained? [00:04:27] Speaker E: Yeah, actually, Jim has all that equipment. [00:04:29] Speaker A: Already, like his personal Zamboni machine. [00:04:34] Speaker D: It actually is like that. It's like a 70 inch wide wand that you hook a hose up to, and the first thing you do is you clear the ice off as best you can, and then you run a thin layer of water over it with this wand. And so in the past, our facilities crew was doing a great job of managing that. You have to obviously clear the snow if it snows. So it's a multi step process. That's something to think about. If you're planning on coming down to use the rink, you want to make sure that it's weather that's right for it. If it's raining or it's just recently snowed, you may show up and it may not be quite ready to go on. So you want to be prepared to show up. And if it's open or not, we're going to have to be open according to the weather. And I think the great thing about this is the facilities department at Dartmouth is going to be managing that process. But this type of partnership with the recreation department, we've worked together for years on different things. So this is, I think, a real positive step of how we can partner in a way that feels more like we're community. [00:05:41] Speaker E: Definitely. [00:05:44] Speaker A: And, Heather, we were talking a little before. I mean, this is one of the cool aspects of this, is that we would hope that. We would certainly hope that students use it and that residents, town residents who live right nearby use it, that you've got people right around who might walk over, but we also might see this as a draw for people who don't live in Hanover. And that's one of the things that you've been also really involved in with our downtown working group. And so I don't know if you wanted to comment on that at all. Do we expect that this is going to draw people from outside Hanover? And if it's closed, I think, Jim, you were saying before, you should come downtown and grab a cup of coffee or lunch instead and maybe wait for it to then open, like. [00:06:23] Speaker C: Absolutely. So I think there's been such expanded new partnerships with the town and the town businesses and Dartmouth trying to support and increase foot traffic and people coming in from other mean. Dartmouth should be a welcoming place to everyone in the upper valley. And there are lots of resources that I think sometimes people aren't always aware of, especially. It can seem intimidating, and so it's like, calm. Where do I park? What do I do? So we're trying to sort of address some of those issues. And I think steps like this, like the ice rink, where it's cool, it's outside, you don't have to feel awkward. You bring your kids, is a great first step. So, yeah, I'm very excited to be part of it. And some of the expanded things we're working on with the town. [00:07:07] Speaker A: Yeah, that's great. And so I know there's going to be some private events out there as well. There'll be some town events of different things. I just saw something on instagram, actually, before coming down here, that was people playing tennis on ice skates. [00:07:19] Speaker C: Oh, my God. [00:07:19] Speaker A: That doesn't sound that would be the more popular. [00:07:25] Speaker D: I'm not sure that I want the folks in our insurance area of the college to listen to this podcast. [00:07:32] Speaker A: Cut that part out for them. I don't know how. I mean, I've been trying to get back into tennis a little bit, but doing that with like normal feet and shoes and ground is difficult enough. [00:07:42] Speaker D: Yeah, the skate, I think broomball is actually an ice skating, an ice sport, which I think we're going to see that house system. I would love to see our house system with our students competing against each other for some activities like that. And I think even if we get the equipment, it'd be great to have it available for the rec department to schedule things like that, too. [00:08:07] Speaker E: Yeah, that'd be great. [00:08:09] Speaker A: And it sounds like, jim, one of the things you were mentioning is that we've done these things a few times. We learn a little bit each time, and I'm a big fan of always when trying new things is reminding folks that it's a new thing. We're experimenting. I'm sure that at the end of this, there'll be some sort of feedback gathered. I can't even imagine spring and summer right now, but when we get to that point, there'll be an opportunity for people to, I don't know, provide some sort of feedback, but just give you the chance. We're trying to do new things. Are there things that you're trying for the first time this year that we hadn't tried before, that you're sort of like hoping go well, but we're not totally sure? [00:08:49] Speaker D: Well, we did a much better job leveling the ground, preparing the surface, and then also learned you really want to wait till the ground freezes up before you put the water in, because then the ice freezes from both sides, top and bottom. So we're putting things that we've learned already, but that's great. You bring up a great point. I would recommend that we welcome suggestions and ideas and responses to how this goes this winter. Want to keep? I'd love to see this continue. And so you can email our conferences and events at dartmouth.edu with any suggestions, ideas, or comments as the winter goes on. And we'll feed that into our process. And from my perspective, I've been living in this Community for 25 years, and it's not, to me, just about being working at Dartmouth now at this part of my life. It's about being a part of here in this Community in Hanover, Norwich, Lebanon, the whole upper valley. So this is something I'm passionate about that. We continue. So give us your feedback, good or bad, and we'll see what we can do with it. [00:09:57] Speaker A: Well, that's great. And I would just reiterate, I think these sort of things just feel, especially coming off the holiday season with so much great stuff with the tree lighting and then in the downtown and just a lot of these. And I think we've got some exciting stuff queued up in the downtown for now this year as well. So I don't know if there was anything that any of you wanted to add that we didn't cover. [00:10:22] Speaker C: I need to get some new skates. I only skate on figure skates. And now I'm thinking I might switch to hockey skates. Is that what people do here? [00:10:32] Speaker A: Are those very different? [00:10:34] Speaker C: Well, the figure skates has a little, like, hook on the front, and that's how you can stop yourself. And hockey, you have to be more like a skier. [00:10:40] Speaker A: I see. Okay. [00:10:42] Speaker D: You guys missed Heather's. [00:10:50] Speaker A: It was a good, it reminded me of the french fries and pizza from South park about. [00:10:55] Speaker D: I'm just kind of curious why this isn't a video. [00:10:59] Speaker A: Well, now you know why. Well, Heather, Jim and mean, thank you for talking a little bit about it, especially Heather and Jim, thank you for. And I know, Emma, and just, it's just another really nice element of ways that we can work together in creating more and more welcoming spaces in the community for people. So we just really appreciate the partnership between the town and the college there. So thanks for all the work here. And we hope to see people out on the ice soon. Hopefully, maybe by the time this is out, we'll be open. We'll see. It's a little tricky these days. And we'll include some links as well. I'll put that email address in the links. And I don't know if there's a community group listening and they want to do an event. We didn't really talk about this, John, but can they reach out to parks if people want to organize, if somebody. [00:11:53] Speaker E: Has ideas for a community event, just reach out to [email protected]. [00:11:58] Speaker A: Great. Cool. Well, thank you all for joining. [00:12:01] Speaker C: Thank you. [00:12:01] Speaker A: See you out there. [00:12:02] Speaker D: Thank you for having us. [00:12:02] Speaker A: Very good. Thank you. [00:12:04] Speaker F: Hey, everyone, and thanks for checking out this special spotlight episode of Hanover happenings. If you'd like to find all of the episodes of our Hanover happenings podcast and prior updates, you can do [email protected]. Or on wherever you listen to podcasts. If you'd like more information about other things happening in town, such as monthly reports, agendas, minutes, events, videos and more. You can do [email protected]. Thanks again for engaging with what's happening in your community.

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