A big sheet of ice is headed for downtown Napa.
Crews began assembling the 70-by-90-foot ice skating rink Monday, building the frame that will hold several inches worth of ice and, next week, crowds of skaters. The Napa on Ice rink is returning for its second holiday season and will be more than 1,500 square feet larger than its predecessor.
“It’s going to be really different this year,” said Peter Mott, the man who first decided to bring a seasonal rink downtown. “It’s going to be bigger and better.”
This year’s rink, which will be more accessible to people with physical disabilities, will be open from Nov. 16 to mid-January. It will be surrounded by a “much larger” viewing deck, according to architect Chris Craiker.
“Our desire and hope is to be finished (with construction) in 10 days,” Craiker said.
Crews will also build three sheds that will replace the tents that housed admissions, skate rentals and a place for skaters to change into and out of skates. Mott said the sheds will be nicer than the tents, will be raised from the ground so there is no rain damage and will be used year after year.
The rental skates this year should fit better and be easier to put on and remove, as they do not have laces like the style used last year, Craiker said.
The rink itself will be constructed much like the city’s 2011 rink. The frame will be filled with sand, then tubular chilling mechanisms that will keep the water frozen. Mott said the ice will be made later next week, just in time for Friday’s opening.
“We’re doing a little bit of a different look with lighting. We’ll have string lights up with bulbs,” Mott said. “We’re really trying to improve it this year.”
After his experience with bringing the ice rink downtown last year, Mott started a company to help other cities bring seasonal rinks to their towns. This year, he is working on bringing a rink to the Northgate mall in Terra Linda Marin County.
“I just really enjoy it,” Mott said. “I think it’s a great way for kids to celebrate the holidays.
Napa on Ice is being made into a nonprofit, Mott said. Next year, all the proceeds will go to programs for children.