MOREAU — Disappointed sledders found the “bowl” at Betar Recreation Park dark and cold this week.
But the lights will be turned on, starting Monday.
The park will be open until 6 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays, and 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
It just wasn’t cold enough to open the ice skating earlier, said recreation department foreman Pete Corlew. So although there was snow for sledding, he kept the lights off.
“There’s no point turning on 20 lights for no reason,” he said, explaining that he can’t just turn on the two lights over the sledding hill. The 18 lights around the ice rink turn on, too.
The ice rink still needs work to get it ready for skating. As recently as Tuesday, it was slushy, Corlew said.
“We need some colder weather,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”
Residents complained to the Town Board, leading to the issue being discussed at last week’s meeting.
One resident said the current schedule makes it hard for most people to use the park at all on weekdays.
The park closed at 3 p.m. all month.
“Which really makes no sense. Kids are at school and parents work,” said resident Dan Crossman. “If anything, maybe they should open later and stay open later.”
Supervisor Gardner Congdon took the residents’ side, saying that the park should open sooner, “if the conditions are good.”
Residents wanted the park to be open later during the school break. But Corlew wouldn’t budge, citing the cost.
“These aren’t LEDs,” he said. “They’re huge halogen bulbs. It’s a huge cost for (the park to be open) two hours later, or an hour and a half on weekdays. They cost a lot of money.”
But he added that he’s eager to get the rink ready so the lights can go on.
“My kids want to skate as much as anybody,” he said.