NORTH ANDOVER — The recent frigid temperatures have provided at least one dividend to the town: an outdoor skating rink at the Joseph N. Hermann Youth Center.
The center serves hundreds if not thousands of local young people, but this is the first time it has offered a skating rink, according to Micaela Tetrault, social programs coordinator at the center.
The rink was built on top of the basketball court next to the youth center. Two local contractors, Christopher Downer, proprietor of Downer Brothers Landscaping, and Peter Breen, owner of Peter Breen Bark Mulch, contributed the materials and labor to build it.
The Fire Department added the water.
The rink has been functioning since January and has drawn numerous skaters, Tetrault said. It’s restricted to North Andover residents, she said, and skaters must wear helmets. A bicycle helmet is acceptable, she added.
“People are responding quite well,” she said.
There’s no charge for time on the ice and one need not fear getting whacked with a puck or hockey stick, Tetrault said. Hockey is not allowed on this rink.
The rink is illuminated until 8 p.m. and the youth center assigns a staffer to the ice between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. to make sure order and decorum are maintained, she said.
Residents can find out if skating is allowed on a particular day by visiting the youth center’s Facebook page.
The Board of Selectmen recently presented certificates of appreciation to Downer and Breen. Selectman William Gordon said he and his family enjoy using the rink.