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Broken pipe melts Merlin Olsen Park skating rink

staff writer

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 13:01


THE MERLIN OLSEN ICE RINK was destroyed by a burst water main. The rink was set to open Tuesday. SAMANTHA BEHL photo


The Merlin Olsen Central Park ice rink will not open this season due to a water pipeline rupture. 

Three pipelines ruptured in Logan on Saturday, one of which was on the northeast corner of Merlin Olsen Central Park. The ice rink is between the ruptured pipeline and the park’s canal. Water from this pipe ran over the almost-complete ice skating rink, causing extensive damage.

Russ Akina, the Logan city director of Parks and Recreation, said deep frost is suspected to have something to do with the pipeline break, but he is not certain of the cause.

“I don’t think at this point that I’ve fully embraced how we could prevent this,” Akina said.

Logan Parks Superintendent Ed Stephens said when water comes out of a main line, it’s a lot warmer than the ice. 

Debbie Harvey, the Program Information Representative for Logan said it looks like a river ran through it.

“As it ran through that rink, it actually melted a lot of the ice,” Stephens said. “It also spread dirt and debris.”

Stephens said only the rink suffered damage.

“There was a little bit of flooding throughout the park,” Stephens said. “But most of it made its way to the canal that runs through the park.” 

The rink was planned to open on Tuesday after about 150 hours were spent building it. 

“It was very unfortunate to see so much work put into something and not be able to use it,” Stephens said. 

Akina said Merlin Olsen Central Park is the only place in Logan’s park system where it is possible to have an ice skating rink, but the rink’s construction is fully dependent on weather and is influenced by inversion.

The rink probably will not be able to open this year, he said, because it would need at least 24 inches of snow in order to cover the voids which were created by the water.

“They would have to have several snow storms before they could even start over by scratch,” Harvey said, “And I don’t think that will happen this year.”

Harvey said the rink should open next year if the weather cooperates.

“The conditions we had this winter is typical for what we need to have a rink,” Akina said. 

Stephens said this is not the first time the ice rink has been ruined this close to completion. 

“We’ve gotten to this point before where the weather has warmed up on us, and that was it,” Stephens said. 

This is, however, the first time the ice rink has been ruined by something other than weather. 

“I’ve been here 28 years and this is the first time I’ve heard of something like this happening,” Harvey said. 

With a tradition of more than 60 years, the Merlin Olsen Central Park Ice Skating Rink is the only ice skating rink staffed by Logan city. Akina said he was disappointed because he knew people were looking forward to skating on it.

“It does have quite a bit of history for a lot of people,” Akina said. “I know of folks in their 70s and 80s who skated on the rink as children.”

Harvey said people have called and left messages on Facebook to express their disappointment. 

“It’s a sad thing,” Harvey said. “People were sad. It’s a great tradition.” 



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