Veterans Memorial Rink to Get New Ice Resurfacing Machine

West Hartford's old Zamboni has participated in the Park Road Parade. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The West Hartford Town Council approved purchase of a replacement ice resurfacing machine for Veterans Memorial Rink.

By Ted Glanzer, West Hartford Press

[Editor’s Note: This article appears with permission of TurleyCT Community Publications. To read more articles in the West Hartford Press, visit TurleyCT.com.]

The West Hartford Town Council on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $92,000 to replace the current ice resurfacing machine (commonly referred to as a Zamboni, which is a brand name like Kleenex and Xerox), which had fallen into significant disrepair according to Human Leisure Services Director Helen Rubino-Turco.

Rubino-Turco told the Council that the ice resurfacing machine that is in current use is 19 years old and is “at the end of its mechanical life.”

“It’s been breaking down a lot and we’ve been pouring in a significant amount of money into it,” she said. While a new Zamboni costs about $170,000, Rubino-Turco said, she found one – a Zamboni – that was lightly used and had a little bit of a sad backstory. It had been damaged when it fell off its transport en route to its rink.

“The exterior was damaged,” she said. “But the machine – the motor, the blades – were not damaged.” A company that makes such repairs bought and fixed the Zamboni was was looking to resell it for nearly 40 percent off what a brand-new Zamboni cost.

To keep the price down, the town is including in the deal the gas-powered ice resurfacing machine that typically only makes appearances at parades, Rubino-Turco said. That machine is considered a collectors’ item, she said, though it had no practical use for the town because gas-powered machines aren’t used indoors because of health concerns for patrons.

Zamboni – the company – would not provide any warranties for the machine the town is acquiring, but the company selling the machine would provide a warranty for a year on all parts and a lifetime warranty on the work that it did.

The current ice resurfacing machine that has fallen into disrepair will serve as a backup, which is “essential for a facility like Veterans Rink,” Rubino-Turco said. “Programming will not be interrupted.”

To complete the sale, a town employee was scheduled to travel to Minnesota Wednesday to inspect the Zamboni and, if all goes according to plan, provide a down payment, Rubino-Turco said.

Members of the town council praised the town staff for making the deal.

“This is a great use of creative research and thinking,” Mayor Shari Cantor said. “It’s quite a deal for the town.”

In other business, the Town Council tabled until Aug. 14 a public hearing and discussion of an ordinance establishing procedures for licensing and public safety details at entertainment establishments.

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