Skaters like smoother, faster surface, sturdier boards
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Brentwood city officials must have felt some relief on Saturday at the ribbon cutting for the newly renovated in-line hockey rink. When the project began last fall they had hoped it would be completed by late February. But the project was extended by two months thanks to a harsh winter and, according to one report, a delay in delivery of the new boards surrounding the rink.
But of the approximately two dozen people watching the ribbon cutting on Saturday morning, perhaps nobody was more relieved than the hockey players themselves. As soon as the ceremony ended, a half dozen of them skated out onto the new surface and began playing a half-rink game.
“This rink came out great,” said Bryan Kelley of Frontenac, after playing goaltender for a half hour . “It used to be bad. There were big cracks in the rink and the walls were falling in. We had to prop up a wall with a bleacher.”
Now Kelley and his buddies are playing on a buttery smooth concrete surface instead of asphalt, and the plastic dasher boards they sometimes worried about bumping into are reassuringly solid.
“This is really awesome,” said another goalie, Charles Swederska, who also plays at an inline rink in Maplewood but says it’s “tinier” than Brentwood’s. “It’s so good.”
The main improvements to the rink are the playing surface, the boards around the surface and the fencing above the boards.
The old playing surface was asphalt with a coating known as Street Ice. It was demolished and replaced by concrete. Brentwood Recreation Superintendent Eric Gruenenfelder said it should last “15 to 20 years with minimal maintenance,” with sealant applied every few years. A new concrete surface was also installed around the outside of the rink.
“The rink is slightly smaller than an NHL rink,” said Recreation Supervisor Brad Barbeau. “We’re one of the bigger in-line rinks in the St. Louis area.”
The old plastic dasher boards have been replaced by boards with an aluminum frame and compression-molded fiberglass panels. The Border Patrol Pro 4000A boards are made by Athletica. Above the boards, replacing the old vinyl netting, is a vinyl-coated chain-link fence. The fence is higher on the north end where traffic passes by on Strassner Drive.
Harsh Winter Delays Project
The engineer on the project was Grimes Consulting Inc. and the project manager was Lawlor Corporation, whose winning bid was $264,700. The renovation lasted six months, from Oct. 28 to April 25. Initially city officials said they wanted to have the project completed by late February.
“We had hoped to have it done by the start of the calendar year but with the harsh winter we didn’t have two business days in a row when it was over 40 degrees and dry,” said Gruenenfelder.
The website 40 South News also reported that there was a delay in obtaining the dasher boards.
Bob Scheiber and his preschool-age son Bobby were excited to see the renovation completed.
“I go jogging by here and have been checking on the progress of this project for months,” Bob said. “When I walk by here with my son he says ‘It’s coming.’ He loves goalies; when he sees a Blues goalkeeper on TV he says, ‘That’s me.’”