Hales Corners skates toward new rink

Published on: 1/10/2012

Hales Corners - Next year at this time, barring 50-degree temperatures, skaters could be using an Olympic-size ice rink here named in honor of Alyson Dudek.

Village Trustee Don Schwartz said plans are under way for the 110-by-210-foot outdoor Aly Dudek International Ice Rink on the parking lot of Hales Corners Park, 5765 S. New Berlin Road.

'It's a great way to recognize really a hometown hero,' said Schwartz.

Lifelong resident Dudek earned a bronze medal in the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010, winning it in the women's 3,000-meter relay speed-skating event with Allison Baver, Lana Gehring and Katherine Reutter.

Phasing it in

Schwartz said the idea for the ice-skating rink began after talking with others in the village on ways to acknowledge Dudek's achievement when he was reminded that Hales Corners had an ice-skating rink decades ago.

He met with Milwaukee County Parks representatives, who gave Schwartz their blessing on the project, to be completed in two phases.

The first phase will be the outdoor rink and four 30-foot lights, to cost about $30,000, to be installed in December or later.

The second phase will be dictated by interest, Schwartz said, but it could include using the Hales Corners pool building to serve coffee and hot chocolate, and opening it up for use by local hockey teams.

'If there's a real demand, then we have plans to develop this further,' said Schwartz, adding that the goal is to make the rink a destination in the area.

Schwartz said Plunkett Raysich Architects and the engineering firm One Source Consulting, both out of Milwaukee, have already done preliminary work on the rink, and Pace Electric Inc., Hales Corners, provided the quote for the lighting.

Pooling ideas

The ice rink would operate under the Friends of the Hales Corners Pool umbrella, and funds for the lights and water usage for the rink, provided by the Fire Department, would be raised privately.

Since the idea surfaced, Schwartz said a committee readily formed and met in December. Its second meeting, open to the public, will be at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Hales Corners Public Library, 5885 S. 116th St.

Dudek's father, Rob, serves on the committee and agreed with Schwartz that the rink would serve as a year-round recreational area.

'It just helps reinforce that area as recreational resource to the village and the surrounding area,' he said. 'It's a nice tribute to Alyson and her accomplishments. Aly is thrilled. She's humbled by it.'