A sketch plan of the temporary rink planned for Gull Crest. Contributed / Cape Community Arena Group

The nonprofit organization planning an open-air ice arena at Gull Crest in Cape Elizabeth is set to build a temporary public rink near the site for use starting in December.

The Cape Community Arena Group installed a rink behind Town Hall in 2020, but the 150-by-85-foot rink at the Gull Crest athletic fields will be refrigerated so it will be open for skaters even if the temperature is above freezing. The group expects construction to begin in October and for the rink to be ready for skaters five days a week starting in early December.

The temporary rink near the public works building at Gull Crest also provides a test run for the town ahead of the permanent arena the group hopes to construct there.

“The first phase is really having that ice in and having a professional rink management company working with us,” said Julie Furt, the group’s chairperson.

The Town Council is seeking proof of concept before giving the official go-ahead on the arena because Gull Crest is town-owned land.

“It’ll be great to have a trial run to see how it interacts with other uses down there,” Council Chairperson Jeremy Gabrielson told The Forecaster, adding that popular winter activities at Gull Crest include dog walking and cross-country skiing. “I suspect we’ll get some picture of what demand and what revenue and financial models might look like.”


The group plans to have the temporary rink in place again next winter, giving them the opportunity to expand operations.

“In year two, we will have a significant amount of public skate time,” Furt said. “There will be allocated times for all of the school (hockey) teams, adult pickup hockey, and other programming so we don’t have figure skaters trying to skate between pucks.”

The Cape Community Arena Group has an anonymous backer who will fund the temporary rink this winter. The plan is for the permanent arena project to repurpose the temp rink, offsetting part of the estimated $5 million cost. Construction on that project is planned to begin in 2024.

“We have an anonymous backer who is really making this winter possible,” Furt said. “Our all-volunteer group is just incredibly grateful.”

Gabrielson is pleased with the group’s work thus far and looks forward to what comes out of the new temporary rink.

“I really appreciate all the effort they’ve put into this,” he said. “I like that we have this opportunity to go out and test this for a couple of years and see where it fits in with all the other activities at Gull Crest.”

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