Freeport may soon have a new outdoor skating rink in the village center, if the Town Council agrees to help fund the project tonight and the weather cooperates in the future.

Town Planner Donna Larson has proposed buying a rink kit and installing it in a parking lot on Depot Street that normally serves Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen and Topside Tavern on Main Street.

Larson said she came up with the idea because free skating would help attract people to the village.

The 45-foot-by-95-foot rink would provide an alternative to the ice skating pond that the town has struggled to maintain in Leon Gorman Park, off Bow Street, since 2008.

“The rink is a bit of an experiment,” Larson said Monday. “We wouldn’t be able to set it up until we got a good cold snap. Unfortunately, we’ve got no control over the weather, and right now it doesn’t look too promising.”

Maine recently ended its warmest November on record. Portland had a mean average temperature of 44.7 degrees — more than 5 degrees above normal, the National Weather Service in Gray reported.

Still, Larson plans to present her $4,500 proposal to the council at 7 tonight, seeking $3,000 from a fund supported by developers’ fees to provide outdoor amenities in the village, she said.

If the rink is to be set up for the upcoming holidays and school vacation, the council must approve the project tonight, Larson said. She plans to order the $2,700 rink kit from the NiceRink company in Genoa City, Wis.

The Rotary Club, Freeport Fire Co. and Nordica Theatre donated $500 each as seed money for the project. Building materials have been promised by the Warren, Zachau and CPM construction companies.

Public works employees would erect the rink, firefighters would fill it, and Rotary members would help maintain the surface of the ice and clear snowfalls of less than 3 inches.

Linda Bean, granddaughter of L.L. Bean, eagerly agreed to provide her parking lot.

“I thought it was a splendid idea,” Bean said. “A lot of people are enjoying the new atmosphere in the village. I think it’s time for me to get out my skates.”

The proposed lease agreement would provide for no rental payment to Bean, but it would indemnify her from liability while the parking lot is being used as a public rink.

The chosen lot is ideal for a skating rink, Larson said. It’s flat, lighted, located near a fire hydrant, served by a storm drain and near the town’s community center, which has bathrooms and an outdoor faucet to help maintain the ice surface.

The kit includes a liner, brackets, plywood edging and a hand-held ice resurfacer, Larson said. The liner would last two to four years and the other equipment would last several years.

Town workers have struggled to maintain a good surface on the ice skating pond in Leon Gorman Park, said Town Engineer Albert Presgraves in a recent memo to town officials.

Located in a gully, the pond’s clay liner springs leaks that must be repaired each year, Presgraves said. Two sewer manholes in the pond may leak and prevent hard freezing. And steep slopes on two sides of the pond concentrate sun exposure and runoff, often causing slush to form at the edge.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]