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December 02. 2012 9:16PM

Hooksett planning skating rink on school-owned pond

HOOKSETT - Weather-willing, Hooksett skaters and hockey players are set to have a free rink to enjoy this winter. The town of Hooksett and the Hooksett School District are planning to open Hannah-Ho-Hee Pond as a public skating rink as conditions allow.

The Department of Public Works is still in the planning process with the Hooksett School District, which owns the pond, so details are scarce on how large the rink will be or how it will be laid out. No opening date has been decided, as it will depend on the weather in the coming months.

One detail that is clear is that the Hannah-Ho-Hee Pond will be a bigger rink than the town has provided in the past.

Last winter, after hearing requests from residents for a public ice rink in town, the town asked the Department of Public Works to open a skating rink in the parking lot of Donati Field. The rink was well-received and utilized, but suffered from space issues. For this winter, the town began researching its options for other venues, and realized that Hannah-Ho-Hee Pond had been used as a skating pond.

"We're going to bring back the past," said Town Administrator Dean Shankle, who announced the project at last week's town council meeting.

The town made a request to the school district to use the land. Superintendent Phil Littlefield, who called the project a "wonderful idea" in a letter to Shankle, approved the request.

"I think it's a great initiative," said Littlefield. "They approached me for permission to use the pond, and we jumped at it. It's just a great community effort. We are all a part of the same community to the extent that municipal government and school government are on the same page and moving in the same direction, and the people who live here benefit from that."

The town will maintain the rink and build a path to allow safe access.

The current plan is for at least a skating area and a hockey area. As with last year's rink at Donati Park, access will be free to the public.

Hannah-Ho-Hee Pond is located next to the Hooksett Memorial School on 5 Memorial Drive, off Route 3.

bclogston@newstote.com


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