The Jefferson City Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department began laying ice Monday in the Washington Park Ice Arena, a process expected to take at least two weeks.
Josh Werdehausen, park supervisor, said it takes a minimum of two weeks to lay an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half of ice. Until that is done, the arena can’t reopen.
“I don’t have a date,” he said. “If we have any mechanical malfunctions at all, like any piece of equipment goes down, that sets us back at least one day.”
The other aspect that may lengthen the process, Werdehausen said, is this wasn’t a scheduled ice build.
At the end of last month, Washington Park flooded, with water getting into the arena and onto the ice.
At the time, Assistant Parks Director JJ Gates said it’s best to let the whole thing melt and lay the ice again.
Since the need for new ice came from flooding, rather than regularly scheduled maintenance, staff also must dedicate time to other projects.
Werdehausen said the department generally lays ice about every three to five years.
“Mother Nature seems to control our schedule,” he said. “We rebuilt last year because we were closed for the coronavirus. The ice is barely a year old at this time — or it was before Mother Nature came through and took it out for us.”
The process started Monday morning, with Parks Department staff laying five layers of warm water, which Werdehausen said binds to the concrete better than cold water.
Next came three coats of white paint and more layers of cold water.
Each layer takes about 10-15 minutes for a six- or seven- person staff to lay.
Once the arena is filled with about an inch and a quarter of ice, Werdehausen said, staff will lay down a vinyl line kit for the hockey rink.
In total, staff will put down about 180 layers of ice.
“We shoot for as close to inch and a half as possible,” Werdehausen said. “We don’t want to go much over that because then we start burning a bunch of energy. And if you’re at an inch and a quarter, then you’re pretty close to your lines for the hockey and all that. We don’t want anybody getting into those and turn them up.”
The department is awaiting the final copy of an ice arena feasibility study looking at whether the city would benefit from an ice arena near the historic Missouri State Penitentiary property and potential uses or improvements for the one at Washington Park.