Norwich rink officials make summer closure plans

Norwich - The Norwich Municipal Ice Rink will close for the summer on June 29, and if the newly selected private management firm completes equipment upgrades on time, the rink would reopen on Oct. 1.

But the closure will mean layoffs for some 20 part-time rink staff as of June 30, when a temporary chiller unit that has kept the rink operating since October is unplugged, Ice Rink Authority Chairman Francois "Pete" Desaulniers said.

The City Council on Monday selected Wonderland Ice Associates of Bridgeport to manage the rink as soon as a lease contract is reached with the firm. Wonderland, which plans to operate the Norwich rink as Norwich Rose Ice Associates, wrote in its bid submission that it plans to retain the current rink staff.

The authority voted Thursday to retain the rink's four full-time staff - rink Director Doug Roberts, box office manager and Assistant Director Shannon Fitzgerald and maintenance workers Bill Christian and Pierre Langlois - through Aug. 30. At that time, the authority anticipates turning over their employment to Wonderland, Desaulniers said.

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