The final say on the return of the Westfield Rink will rest with the Town Council.
WESTFIELD, NJ — The local Recreation Commission on Monday is anticipated to decide on the return of a seasonal ice rink to Gumbert Park, something that has become a celebrated cause for members of the community’s burgeoning youth ice hockey program and a cause for concern for many people living near to the park.
The commission’s membership will base its recommendation to the Town Council on a proposal Union Sports Arena owner Ken Anderson presented last month, along with the findings of an advisory panel that issued a 26-page report on the rink’s operation.
The rink hosted 22,000 uses across 675 sessions, including 810 hours of use during its four-month season, according to the report, which notes that when the construction and dismantling of the tented operation are considered, the rink was in Gumbert Park for six months.
“The rink’s presence expanded the ice time availability in the area, allowed hockey to grow in Westfield and provided recreational skating opportunities for residents of Westfield and other nearby [municipalities],” the report states.
The report also includes a log of Westfield police responses to the neighborhood from November through February — the time in which the rink was open to the public. Residents called police to the neighborhood 36 times in the four months, the call logs show.
Four of those calls pertained to motor vehicles and 11 were about parking, according to the log included in the Rink Commission’s report. Neighbors called Westfield police six times with complaints about noise during the four-month time, the call logs show.
“Neighborhood concerns about the rink’s operations include hockey noise, aesthetics, parking, traffic, lighting, hours of operation, idling cars, noise during construction/dismantling and possible negative impact to property values,” the report states.
While the report notes that when the set-up and take-down time is included, the rink’s presence in the neighborhood lasted six months, the police logs detailed in the report show only the four months in which the facility was open to the public.
Also included in the report is an “issue tracker” detailing 120 complaints logged in connection with the rink and the ways in which the rink’s operators sought to resolve the issues.
While the police logs do not include calls made to the Garwood Police Department, which serves a portion of the impacted neighborhood, the rink was a prominent topic at the last meeting of the Garwood Borough Council, where municipal officials agreed to draft a formal letter to Westfield expressing concern about the rink.
“Frankly, I don’t want it back at that location,” Garwood Mayor Sara Todisco said, responding to her residents' concerns. “If it comes back, it really better not have a concession stand and extended hours.”
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh
If you go
The Recreation Commission Meeting will be held at the Town Hall, 425 East Broad St., Westfield, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Below, view the Garwood Council meeting at which the rink's operations were discussed.