Thank you to all DTBL supporters who signed the petition to keep Cleland Ice Rink open and also for the Caroline Hurricanes support. Your voices have been heard and we are so excited. Please read the article below:
By Ali Rockett
Fort Bragg’s Cleland Ice Rink is open for good, Fort Bragg officials announced Thursday.
The rink had been scheduled to close May 24 and remain shut down until Sept. 15 as part of the post’s cost-saving measures.
A new fee structure that roughly doubles what visitors previously paid to use the rink has been adopted, Fort Bragg spokesman Ben Abel said.
Weekday admission during public skate sessions increased from $4 to $7, which includes skates. Weekend prices went from $7 to $10. Public ice skating hours and prices vary.
“This allows for the rink to remain open, which we are happy to see happen,” Abel said.
The rink closed last summer for several months, Abel said, because of budget constraints.
The prospect of it closing again brought community outcries on Facebook and online petitions.
Jennifer Adams, secretary of the Cape Fear Youth FireAntz Hockey Association, said the rink was full of skaters Thursday. The association has played its games in the facility for more than 12 years.
“It’s all positive here,” she said. “Everyone is very excited to still be in the rink. We’re extremely grateful for all the community support we’ve had and to Fort Bragg for listening to us and finding a way to work it out.
“It feels like a good victory today.”
Adams and her husband, Mike, a military officer, have two sons, Duncan and Drake, who play hockey. Delaney, their daughter, figure skates.
The next closest rink is more than 70 miles away in Garner, Adams said, and the prices are higher there.
“So not only would it have been the added expense and inconvenience to travel, but at an increased cost,” Adams said.
The youth hockey league, which has grown by 20 percent over the last three years and includes about 100 families, will start its fall assessment in June at Cleland, Adams said. Plans are to establish a summer league and play until the regular season begins in September.
“There is a sense of the relief for an established plan instead of the uncertainty before,” she said. “To have it closed down for five months was going to be a cramp for people.”
Abel and Adams said the facility at Fort Bragg is unique. Abel said it is the only ice rink on a military installation in the lower 48 states. It includes an outdoor in-line skating rink.
Cleland is used for various activities, including youth hockey games, figure skating, private skating lessons, birthday parties and open recreational skating. Fort Bragg uses the facility for unit physical fitness training.
Staff writer Ali Rockett can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3528.