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'We've got to rebuild' Newport rink commission chairperson vows


BROOKLYN – There's no doubt in Garnett Davison's mind that the Newport and District Arena will rise again.

The rink, which had its roof cave in under the weight of snow and its walls buckle, was destroyed April 1. The area has been cordoned off to the public, but the building's twisted frame is still visible from the road. Inside, the devastation is immediately evident.

The sound of raindrops hitting the metal beams and dancing on the damaged ice surface can be heard near the entrance.

Davison, the chair of the Newport and District Arena Commission, was just a few feet from the structure when the roof gave way.

“I was in there about 10 minutes before it came down, looking at the beams and stuff. It looked fairly sturdy,” recalled Davison.

He was sitting in his truck, contacting an engineer to take another look at the popular rink, when he saw the structure come crashing down.

“It's hard to describe – the noise and the dust and the dirt flying,” said Davison.

Two employees were inside the rink at the time, one in the office and one in the dressing rooms. Neither were injured. Although there usually would be adults and children at the rink in the afternoon, all activities were cancelled as a precaution.

For Davison, who has been the chair of the society governing the rink for about 20 years, the sight of the rink collapse is a memory he can't easily shake. However, with the many fond memories over the past two decades, and the positive comments he's hearing out in the community, he's confident that more good memories will be made in the near future.

“It's pretty well cut in stone that we're going to be rebuilding here,” said Davison.

The rink commission is in talks with their insurance provider. Davison said while the rink was insured, he's not sure if it'll be enough to create a modern arena. He's hopeful that the community will rally to help them raise the necessary funds to create the best possible rink for the location.

“She's fully insured except for a lot of stuff that we're going to have to raise money for,” said Davison, indicating they will need to bring it up to the most modern rink standards.

Davison noted that the Zamboni and the new ice plant that was installed not long ago are both salvageable.

“This is a definite thing. We've got to rebuild. We've got to have it back in the community.”

Davison praised the arena's excellent staff that have been there over the years, citing the names of Wayne Lunn, Gary Lunn, Johnny Morash, Shane Rogers and Robbie Shaw as examples. He noted that the commission's secretary-treasurer, Phyllis Blanchard, has been excellent in handling the books.

“We couldn't do without her of course,” said Davison.

He's hoping to hold a community meeting in the coming weeks to help answer questions about the rink collapse and to discuss the next steps. The rink was built in 1972.

 

The rink, which had its roof cave in under the weight of snow and its walls buckle, was destroyed April 1. The area has been cordoned off to the public, but the building's twisted frame is still visible from the road. Inside, the devastation is immediately evident.

The sound of raindrops hitting the metal beams and dancing on the damaged ice surface can be heard near the entrance.

Davison, the chair of the Newport and District Arena Commission, was just a few feet from the structure when the roof gave way.

“I was in there about 10 minutes before it came down, looking at the beams and stuff. It looked fairly sturdy,” recalled Davison.

He was sitting in his truck, contacting an engineer to take another look at the popular rink, when he saw the structure come crashing down.

“It's hard to describe – the noise and the dust and the dirt flying,” said Davison.

Two employees were inside the rink at the time, one in the office and one in the dressing rooms. Neither were injured. Although there usually would be adults and children at the rink in the afternoon, all activities were cancelled as a precaution.

For Davison, who has been the chair of the society governing the rink for about 20 years, the sight of the rink collapse is a memory he can't easily shake. However, with the many fond memories over the past two decades, and the positive comments he's hearing out in the community, he's confident that more good memories will be made in the near future.

“It's pretty well cut in stone that we're going to be rebuilding here,” said Davison.

The rink commission is in talks with their insurance provider. Davison said while the rink was insured, he's not sure if it'll be enough to create a modern arena. He's hopeful that the community will rally to help them raise the necessary funds to create the best possible rink for the location.

“She's fully insured except for a lot of stuff that we're going to have to raise money for,” said Davison, indicating they will need to bring it up to the most modern rink standards.

Davison noted that the Zamboni and the new ice plant that was installed not long ago are both salvageable.

“This is a definite thing. We've got to rebuild. We've got to have it back in the community.”

Davison praised the arena's excellent staff that have been there over the years, citing the names of Wayne Lunn, Gary Lunn, Johnny Morash, Shane Rogers and Robbie Shaw as examples. He noted that the commission's secretary-treasurer, Phyllis Blanchard, has been excellent in handling the books.

“We couldn't do without her of course,” said Davison.

He's hoping to hold a community meeting in the coming weeks to help answer questions about the rink collapse and to discuss the next steps. The rink was built in 1972.

 

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