PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — A plan to build an outdoor skating rink at Strawbery Banke Museum is getting a frosty reception from neighbors.

Sixteen neighbors have gone to court to challenge the city zoning board’s decision to grant variances that would allow construction of the rink. The Portsmouth Herald reports that neighbors worry about noise and light pollution and argue the rink will bring more traffic to an already congested area.

Officials at the history museum say the cooling machine will be in a sound-proof building so noise won’t be an issue. Larry Yerdon, president and CEO of Strawbery Banke, said the museum is disappointed that a small minority of residents are trying to prevent something positive for the entire community.

“Strawbery Banke has done what I think is a stupendous job of being a good neighbor,” he said. He said the museum has done its best to lessen the impact on the neighborhood during events that draw large crowds. “We are very sensitive to those issues,” he said.

The project calls for building a temporary pond-like structure that would remain open for three months in the winter. The rink would offer skating lessons, family and community skate times and pick-up hockey games. There also would be monthly shows featuring professional skaters.

Lawsuit aside, the project still needs approval of the city Planning Board to move forward.

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