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Optimists get rink ready for skaters



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December 18, 2013 - Clarkston Area Optimists were busy installing the ice skating rink in Depot Park on Monday.

Optimist John Marz was one of the laborers working to install the ice rink. He said the rink is pretty large and measures 64 x 37.

The ice rink will stay up in Depot Park through the winter season until about March, and anyone can come ice skating for free.

On the day the rink was being installed, Bill Kunse said after the rink was installed, filled with water and iced over it would be ready for skaters. "It takes teamwork and willingness to install the rink," said Kunse.

Betty Reilly said the Optimists work together and install the rink for the community. "It's for the kids and it's for the adults too," she said. "It's for everybody."

Oakland County Commissioner and Optimist Tom Middleton said 2013 marks the third year the Optimists have paid for and installed the rink in the park.

Middleton said a few years ago resident Ginny Shultz approached the optimists and asked about installing a rink, and that is when the idea was born. Middleton and the rest of the Optimists were on board with the idea, and the rink was born shortly after.

"The popularity of the ice rink is unbelievable," said Middleton. "I come out at 10 at night and there are people skating. I come at 8 in the morning and people are skating. It's popularity is more than I could have ever believed."

City Manager Carol Eberhardt said she spoke with Middleton several times, and he is very concerned with keeping the ice smooth in the rink.

Middleton said he keeps the ice smooth by visiting the rink and pumping more water on it.

On the day they installed the rink, a coffee donation from the Old Village Café in Clarkston made the work a little warmer and easier. Eberhardt said there is no set hours for the rink.

"People can come and skate in the evening or whenever they are brave enough to face the cold," she said

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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