Canton ice rink open for public skating

A skater talks with her parents through the glass at the Canton Recreation Pavilion during a public skate at the facility in 2017. Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — Municipal recreation is continuing to be reviewed by town and village officials with a 24-member advisory group this month.

The September resignation of Recreation Director Jimmi L. Putman prompted a community-led evaluation of municipal programming, and the volunteer group convened virtually in December and twice in January.

The recreation committee, comprised of town Councilor Timothy J. Danehy and village Trustees Carol S. Pynchon and Elizbeth R. Larrabee, formed the group to consider staffing, facilities, programming, resources, partnerships and taxpayer return on investment.

During a joint town and village meeting last week, Ms. Larrabee described the advisory group as having great “creative energy.” The group has so far identified and distinguished municipally run resources — Partridge Run Golf and Country Club, the Canton Recreation Pavilion, Bend in the River Park and the Remington Trail, for example — and community resources, like school playgrounds, gyms and yoga studios.

The village and town each budget for the recreation department annually, and additional revenue is secured by ice rental, program fees, concessions, advertising and grants, according to an average budget breakdown reviewed by the advisory group.

Annual expenses for full-time staff, summer lifeguards at Taylor Park, electric, gas and internet utilities, equipment, insurance and facility repair can total between $318,000 and $376,000.

Through discussion of base financial costs, facility use and what the advisory group understands to be Canton’s recreation needs, the task is to formulate municipal facilities and programs that “best complement” privately owned or nonprofit-managed recreation venues, Mr. Danehy said.

Two February meetings of the advisory group are planned, he said. Input about Canton recreation should be directed to recreation committee members or submitted through a Google Form posted to the parks and recreation page of the municipal website.

In the absence of a recreation director, interim village Superintendent of Public Works Marty Miller is overseeing Pavilion facilities and activities with recreation staff.

Following a limited reopening this fall and periods of closure in December and January, the Pavilion is again open to Canton Minor Hockey and the St. Lawrence Figure Skating Club.

With St. Lawrence County Public Health Department information, the recreation committee is monitoring Canton Central School District and community cases of COVID-19 “day by day” to determine whether a temporary closure of the ice rink is warranted, Ms. Pynchon said.

The goal, she added, is to be able to add open skating and additional ice programs that typically fill out the Pavilion’s seasonal calendar.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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