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There's a new place to ice skate in Davenport this winter
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There's a new place to ice skate in Davenport this winter

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Get ready to lace up those skates. There's a new place to ice skate in Davenport.

The city recently converted a flood retention pond into an outdoor ice skating rink in Blackhawk Garden Park south of the Roosevelt Community Center in Davenport's Garden Addition.

The city of Davenport Parks and Recreation Department cleared the retention pond of trees and bushes, and the Davenport Fire Department filled it with water, running hoses from a nearby hydrant after plugging two culverts.

The area near Blackhawk Creek, which frequently flooded, was turned into a park after the city's purchase and demolition of homes in the Garden Addition as part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood buy-out program.

The last purchase was in 2012.

The park was built with volunteer labor, donations and city funds, and included the installation of two retention ponds.

"It was always my goal and the neighborhood's goal to take one of them, fill it up with water and make an ice skating rink," said Ward 1 Alderman Rick Dunn, who lives in the area and was a key volunteer in putting the project together.

He noted that area of Davenport lacks an ice rink nearby for kids to play on.

City parks and recreation officials are also working on installing a skating rink at VanderVeer Botanical Park and will share more information once work is completed and the rink is fully operational.

Dunn estimated it took 3-4 hours to fill the pond with 6 inches of water, but some areas subsequently thawed as temperatures warmed above freezing earlier in the week.

While the ice is ready to be skated on, Dunn said he hoped to add another layer of ice next week once the weather gets colder.

"We've got a good layer of ice, but we need to add more," he said. "Right now in most places I have 3-4 inches (of ice), but I need a couple more yet. There's spots that don't have ice yet. A lot of it does. When the weather cooperates here next week, I hope I can put another couple of inches on it."

Dunn thanked the Davenport Fire Department for volunteering its time to fill the pond in bitterly cold temperatures with wind chills as low as 20 degrees below zero.

"It gives kids a safe place to go play instead of playing in the creek," Dunn said. "Here, you've got 6 inches of ice, and if they do fall through (the ice) they're going to go home with a wet ankle."

Dunn added he plans to bring hockey nets to the ice rink, "which is about 150-feet-by-150-feet."

Other than the Davenport fire chief and fire marshal donating their time to fill the pond with water, Dunn said the project didn't require much city investment.

"We're not done yet, but I think we've got plenty of winter left," he said. "It's just another option for kids to get outside and have a little fun."

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