This rendering of the revamped Cornelia Warren Four Season Rink on Lincoln Street in Westbrook shows what the finished product will look like next summer. Courtesy photo

WESTBROOK— The Cornelia Warren Four Season Rink will be demolished and replaced with a $250,000 rink next summer.

The rink on Lincoln Street was built of wood and concrete in 1994 for $30,000. The new rink will be built with Sport Court, a rubberized material that is safer than asphalt, but still good for soccer, basketball and pickleball. A protective sheet will cover the surface so it can flooded and frozen for skating.

New sideboards will be installed and safety netting will surround most of the rink.

“The rink now has blacktop, which makes it harder to freeze in the sun,” said Westbrook Community Center Director Greg Post, one of the drivers of the project. “With the Sport Court, we will be able to have the lines needed for, say, pickleball or soccer. We will have portable basketball hoops for the rink as well.”

The rink has been unsafe to skate on for at least the past two years because of breaks in the concrete and wood.

And it wasn’t terribly safe for soccer players, either.

Former Westbrook High School soccer coach John Morgan programmed summer soccer sessions there from 2011 to 2013.

“Youth boys enjoyed it, but we found out how clumsy they can be, and were often sending them home wrapped in gauze because of the falls and scrapes on the asphalt,” Morgan said.

Morgan, who five years back stepped down as school soccer coach to run the Roosevelt Soccer Club, continued to host summer games there until a few years ago.  Older boys and men didn’t seem to mind the rink’s deteriorating condition, he said. However, it was difficult to draw women to the program and he blames that on the safety issues and the difficulty of playing on the rink.

He’s wanted to improve the rink for years.

Morgan said when the city was thinking of turning the rink area into a parking lot, he and Post “brushed the dust off our plans from 2011 or so, and were able to raise the $250,000 for the project.”

Morgan, who Post described as the “middle man connecting all of the organizations with the city and Cornelia Warren,” secured $50,000 from Soccer Maine, which was matched by Cornelia Warren Foundation, and $30,000 from the U.S Soccer Foundation. Morgan and Post then were awarded $120,000 in Community Development Block Grants from the county.

Groundbreaking for the project is planned for summer 2020.

“The court isn’t even up and we are already talking to a number of organizations from all over the area about programming for every season,” Post said.

Post and Morgan are planning to program ice and street hockey, family skating, 3-on-3 basketball, pickleball, futsal (a smaller variant of soccer), flag football, ultimate frisbee and lacrosse at the  new rink.

“Right now the Community Center is really putting a focus on youth programming, so this is really in line with our goals,” Post said.

The city is also seeking another grant for $100,000, which would revamp the boat ramp right next to the rink, as well as remove the invasive plants along the shore, opening up the rink to a view of the river.

The rink’s wooden boards are falling down. Public Services will destroy the existing rink before the new one is built. Chance Viles / American Journal

The rink is covered in cracks, with weeds growing in between and through the snowfall. Chance Viles / American Journal

The rink’s wooden boards and cracked asphalt hasn’t been able to hold water to freeze for skating for a few years. Chance Viles / American Journal

An angled rendering of the new court. Courtesy photo

 

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