Programming has resumed for the 2018-2019 season at the Franklin Park Ice Arena.
The facility reopened last week. It had been closed since July 4. Earlier this year, firefighters said fireworks were the cause of a fire that also damaged the garages of two homes near the arena. There were no injuries, but there was enough damage to force the closure of the ice arena.
“There was some smoke damage,” said Kevin Meyers, general manager for the Franklin Park Ice Arena. “We spent time cleaning, replacing ceiling tile, painting a couple of walls, and vacuuming. It was a minimal cleanup effort, but it covered some space. It was contained by the Zamboni machine.”
Meyers said the cost of the cleanup effort added up to a little more than $200,000.
“Firefighters responded to the smoke alarms that sounded, and everything that could’ve been done was done,” Meyers said. “It could have been worse.”
The arena reopened to the public Sept. 4. Meyers said everything was cleaned and wiped to make sure it was free of smoke.
“The ice arena has not seen anything so pervasive,” he said, referring to the damage. “There’s never been anything like that.”
Meyers added, “It’s been a long summer.”
The arena and its equipment were up to date on inspections and maintenance as of the facility’s reopening to the public, Meyers said. He does not anticipate another closure to the facility occurring. The arena is expected to continue running programs for its current season through March 2019.
“All major systems were looked at post-incident,” Meyers said. “Everything’s looking good. The Zamboni machine is doing well. We’re putting up rental skates.”
Meyers said a hot boiler, among other things, had been checked out and later repaired or replaced.
Park District of Franklin Park staff had contacted summertime programming participants informing them of the ice arena’s closure and plans to reopen. Around that time, the summer hockey and ice skating camps were hosted at various off-site locations. A number of other program offerings were canceled.
“It could’ve been between 500 and 1,100 people displaced, or relocated, by the closure,” Meyers said. “When it’s off-season, you would think it’s a slow time around here, but it’s so busy.”
A special welcome back public skate event was set for Sept. 12, featuring music and giveaways.