Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced on Monday, September 17th that a $2 million project to modernize Essex County Codey Arena Rink 2 was complete. The new refrigeration system will enable the rink to operate more efficiently and will provide better and more consistent conditions for ice skaters. These improvements are the first major upgrades Rink 2 has received since it opened in 1983.

“One of our initiatives over the past 10 years has been to make sure our parks and recreation facilities continue to meet the needs of our residents. The project we just completed replaces the original, 30-year-old cooling system in Rink 2 with one that will operate more efficiently and provide our skaters and other users first-class conditions,” DiVincenzo said.

The concrete floor under the ice surface and the rink dasher boards was removed and the refrigeration system was replaced. The existing system was installed when Rink 2 opened and was no longer operating at optimum capacity. The new system is more efficient and provides a better ice skating surface. In addition, new dasher boards, bleachers and floor outside of the rink were installed and the rink was repainted.

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“I can’t tell you how pleased we are with the improvements made to this facility. They came right in time for our new season,” said Sally Saul from the Essex Skating Club.

“We are so proud of this. And our skaters will get a lot of good use from this rink,” said Geri Lynch from the Synchroettes. As part of the opening ceremony, skaters from the Synchroettes and the International Skating School performed a short skating exhibition.

“This year, Devils Youth Hockey is celebrating its 25th anniversary. In that time, we have seen a lot of positive changes and have worked hand in hand with the county,” said Al Graul from the Devils Youth Hockey. “The upgrades you see here today are a testament to the dedication and attention the County puts into its facilities. On behalf of the club, we are very appreciative,” he added.

Becht Engineering of Liberty Corner received a $129,950 contract to design the upgrades. Colonnelli Brothers of Hackensack received a competitively bid contract for $2,026,000 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works monitored the project to ensure delays were avoided. The project was funded through the Essex County Capital Budget and was completed in just five months.

The Arena hosts the New Jersey Devils Youth Hockey Club, the New Jersey Daredevils Hockey Club, Special Olympic Skaters, The Essex Skating Club of New Jersey, Essex County High School Hockey Teams, New Jersey Interscholastic High School League Cup Playoffs, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship Playoffs, adult hockey clubs and many youth recreational teams. Special events hosted at the Arena include the Essex County Athletic Directors Wrestling Tournament, High School Commencement Ceremonies, Essex Skating Club Winter ESCapade, the NJSIAA Ice Hockey Tournament and several major corporate fundraising galas.

The arena opened in 1958 and an addition with a second ice rink was built in 1983. In 2005, a comprehensive $11 million renovation was conducted in which a 10,000-square-foot addition was built onto the front of the facility to create a new entranceway and house a pro shop, skate rental area, food concession area, party rooms and administrative offices. In addition, existing locker rooms, offices, bathrooms and skate rental area were renovated and the building was made compliant with ADA requirements. Outdoor repairs were made to the masonry, roof, doors, windows, lighting and HVAC, and a 3,360-square-foot addition for new locker rooms and storage was built. The project was funded with grants from the State of New Jersey, the Essex County Open Space Trust Fund and the Casino Reinvestment Development Corporation, and the Essex County Capital Budget. New kitchen equipment for the concession stand was installed in 2007.