The Rink

On one of those nights when you know your spouse is not going to be home for hours and you pull up to your driveway a little later than normal, you notice a car that you have never seen before in front of your house. The lights on the car are off but the car is still running. You can see the silhouette of a man in the front seat. Your house is dark because you haven’t yet adjusted your light timers for fall. Everyone in town is talking about how so many cars have been stolen in the last few months in Westfield. What do you do? Do you open the garage door and race in? Do you drive around the block several times, hoping they will leave? What do you do?

This is an example of how living near the Ice Rink has made many of our Westfield neighbors feel. Every day another car parked out front, another stranger in the neighborhood or a bus full of strangers. Then there is the noise, the sounds of which could be compared to that of a construction site full of hammers striking wood. Players crashing into the boards, pucks being hit and the officials whistle blowing till all hours of the night.

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I must admit, when I first heard about the hockey rink I thought it was a good idea. I remember as a kid skating at Gumpert Park. The difference back then was, we were just ice skating till dark. The other thing I didn’t understand was how little Westfield is allowed to partake in the ice rink. Seems to be only 10% of the ice time goes to Westfield.  So the 90% balance of rink time is given to outsiders. What does that mean? It has meant buses sitting at idle running for hours, and a choir of cars (also sitting idle for hours) with head lights aimed into homes. In addition to this the disruptive crowd noise when packs of people yell to one another as they leave or enter the area, and of course the slamming car doors.

You would think that with downtown Westfield dying a slow death, a location closer to town would make much more sense. Since it looks like the Rialto is gone until 2022, any kind of a destination business would make sense. Instead of the ice hockey people waiting in their 20 to 30 cars for the hockey players to leave practice, they could be waiting in a Westfield coffee shop, restaurant or do some shopping.

Something else related to neighborhood concerns about living near the ice rink needs to come out. Seems that when Westfield neighbors raised issues and stated facts regarding the impact that living near the rink has had on their personal life, they were attacked by supporters of the present Westfield administration. Shame on them. This kind of extreme social bulling is disgusting, and seems to be supported Brindle’s team. In my almost 50 years in Westfield, I cannot ever remember such extremists in any political party. Horrible attacks on homeowners that are just trying to be heard, and protect what they have worked so hard to earn, a home in Westfield.

There are at least 10 other locations for the ice rink that would be smarter for the Town of Westfield and our community. Why Gumpert? Why not the Armory, the Westfield Municipal Pool site, the park across from Stop and Shop on Elm Street, etc.? What is the real reason? Who is really benefiting? It does not seem to be Westfield. Move the Ice Rink. 

Vote For Bodmer Ward 2