The first upgrades to the second ice rink at Essex County’s Richard Codey Arena since it opened in 1983 were unveiled Monday.
The ribbon cutting of the $2.2 million project drew county officials and elected representatives into the chilled air of Rink 2. The work included modernizing the refrigeration system, repainting the rink, adding a new concrete floor under the ice surface and outside the rink, and replacing new boards and bleachers.
The improvements, said Daniel Salvante, director of the Essex County Department of Parks, “have really put us into the 21st century as far as how we can maintain the ice.”
Salvante added the upgrades, begun in April, could not have come at a better time. The rink is constantly used by hundreds of ice hockey teams, including recreation leagues, high school and college teams, figure skating clubs, and it is also open for general skating.
Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo said that out-dated equipment was costing the county more than $75,000 in maintenance costs every year. These improvements, he said, needed to be done.
“This is for the public,” said DiVincenzo. “Not only for people from Essex County, but throughout the state who utilize it ... This facility here completes what we are doing at the two arenas.”
Geri Lynch-Tomich, coach of the Synchroettes ice-skating team, stood with the DiVincenzo as he cut the ribbon on the upgrades. The Synchroettes are on the ice hours every week preparing to participate in the United States Figure Skating Association’s competitions this year.
“We are so proud to call this home because this is one of the most beautiful facilities in the country," Lynch-Tomich said.
After the ribbon cutting, it was time to test the ice. The Synchroettes and other figure skaters twirled, whirled and glided on the ice to music as they put on short routines.