Jess Lowenberg, a Shakopee resident, stands outside the ice rink at Riverside Park, near his house. He said the rink used to be filled with kids and brought the neighborhood together before the city stopped flooding it this year. Lowenberg attended the Jan. 13 Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting with neighbor Erik Radtke.

Two members of the Riverside Fields neighborhood came forward at the Shakopee Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting Jan. 13 in hopes of keeping their neighborhood ice rink, which the city closed as part of its 2040 Parks and Trails Master Plan.

Earlier this month, more than 500 people signed a petition in favor of keeping the rink open and many neighborhood residents have shown up to Shakopee City Council meetings to voice their opinions on the matter.

At the last city council meeting on Jan. 7, the council reaffirmed its decision, citing a year-long planning process in which hundreds of residents were interviewed and never heard any recommendations to keep the Riverside Fields ice rink open.

As part of their last-ditch effort to keep their neighborhood rink, residents who live near the rink offered to flood it themselves.

“We’re trying to get the city to opt to keep those boards up and be able to flood that with no city cost,” Shakopee resident Erik Radtke said at the Jan. 13 meeting before asking the advisory board for recommendations on how to move forward and who to talk to.

Since the city council passed a motion 4-1 at the last meeting that reaffirmed its decision to close the rink, the advisory board couldn’t reverse the council’s decision. But the board did unanimously pass a motion to recommend the council work with the Riverside Fields neighborhood to answer questions related to the liability and feasibility of allowing them to flood the rink on their own.

Radtke, who also mentioned he was interested in running for appointment to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, asked the members what it looked like to belong to the advisory board at the beginning of the meeting.

“Now I think you’ve answered my first question,” he said at the end of the discussion, pleased that the board was able to make the recommendation to city council. “This is awesome.”

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.


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