Dallas Center opens latest chapter in skating history

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Dallas Center supporters celebrating Saturday's ribbon cutting for the new ice rink shed included, front row from left, Laura Leighton-Harris, Tim Short, Charles Rhinehart and Mike Buckalew; middle row from left, Berton Whited, Maureen Whited, Ken Matteson, Nadine Stille, Amy Jarnagan and Ryan Coon; back row from left, Gary Licht, John Mortimer, Chuck Fagen, Bob German, Kate Sheets, Danny Beyer and Mary Werch. Photo courtesy Dallas Center Rotary Club

Fans of winter exercise celebrated the opening Saturday of the new Dallas Center ice skating rink and skating shed with a ribbon cutting and open house in Heritage Park near the intersection of 14th and Walnut streets in downtown Dallas Center.

The rink was brought about by the hard work of members of the Dallas Center Rotary Club, the Dallas Center Healthy Hometown group and the Dallas Center Parks and Recreation Board and Dallas Center Public Works Department.

The Rotary Club raised $9,000 in grants from the Dallas County Foundation and the Rotary International District 6000 Foundation and through local fundraisers. The club also donated the labor and materials to equip the interior of the shed.

Zach Funk, owner of Sun Rise Sheds, designed and built the shed in consultation with the committee and donated the labor for delivering it and placing it on the concrete pad. The city of Dallas Center funded the shed’s concrete pad and electrical wiring and will pay for a planned street light.

Saturday’s celebration was kept warm with roasted marshmallows and gooey S’mores at the rink’s fire pit.

The new rink brought warm memories to Charles Rhinehart, whose father, John Rhinehart,  was the Rotary Club president in 1943 and 1944 and was heavily involved in building the town’s original town roller-skating rink — which doubled as an ice-skating rink in winter — in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Charles, who himself presided over the Rotary Club in 1978-1979, still has the blueprints for the original rink and said he remembers skating on it as a child. He helped the city remove the original rink in the late 1980s or early 1990s and replace it with the existing roller rink.

The new skate shed, equipped with 40 pairs of skates, is open every Wednesday afternoon and most weekends, weather permitting, and at other hours when volunteers are available.

The Dallas Center Skates Facebook page provides up-to-date information on the rink’s hours, availability for parties and other arrangements. To reserve the rink, call the Dallas Center City Hall at 515-992-3725.

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