Monday, January 13, 2003

Hebron Crossroads 1-19-03
By Jeff Gill

If you were driving through Hebron last Sunday night and were puzzled by the lights shining over Canal Park, you’d be right to think it was awfully early for baseball practice to start.

But it was ice skating at the village rink that lit up the sky behind Bowman’s truck lot south of Main St. Ice skating, you ask? Village rink? That’s what we’re talking about during these deep freeze days of January.

Scott Walters, who is just going off of the Parks Committee on village council, has been working with village staff to set up a skating rink on one of the ball fields just off of Cumberland Street and Canal Road. This 80 by 200 foot area is made up of a rubber liner and outer boards along with some simple signage indicating the hazards of skating and recommending protective gear (like the signs at the bike park in Evans Park just north of town).

“We were looking for another way to give back to the citizens of Hebron in all seasons,” said councilmember Walters, “and this gives people another reason to come to Hebron parks.” Mike McFarland had seen a similar portable rink arrangement in Glenford, and when this gently used one became available, the next step was obvious: time for a Hebron skating rink!

Right now, you have to bring your own skates, since the costs of buying and renting out gear makes a cost-effective idea suddenly quite expensive. “But lots of people are finding they or their neighbors have skates hung up in the garage from when people used to skate out on the lake all the time.”

Some of those Buckeye Lake classics are showing up on the feet of kids who look much younger than the skates they wear, with a few dozen out on the ice the first day. The six inches of ice are dependent on the weather, but that’s been the easiest part to date. Help from Hebron’s Fire and Street Departments, as well as assistance from the Union Township maintenance crew, got the rink in place under the ballfield lights that are already in place. While generally unsupervised, activities at the rink and day to day operation is just tied to checking ice conditions indicated by whether the sign at the entrance says “open” or “closed.”

With Scott moving over to chair the Finance Committee, Ray Guinsler will take over as Parks chairman, but he plans to stay involved in bringing more and more of the community to the parks of Hebron.

“Thanks to Bear Creek Company, we just got 300 trees planted out at Evans Park, and there on the ball courts we hope to have some lawn-chair concerts this summer,” Walters points out. Back to the winter and Canal Park, your columnist pointed out a cost-effective promotion might be to have Tonya Harding come to give clinics on both ice skating and boxing, but Scott wasn’t sure he’d take that one back to committee. “We’ve got a few ideas of our own to discuss; that’d be. . .interesting.”

Well if you don’t like the idea you can just say so. . .

Next Saturday (Jan. 25) is Books & Coffee, discussing “Johnny Tremain” at 612 W. Main St. in the front room at 10:00 am; you may have already guessed that if coffee isn’t your beverage of choice, you may want to bring your own! With great literature written originally for children on our minds, and with plunging temperatures and a new ice rink, perhaps “Hans Brinker” is a good secondary choice (now there’s an oldie: anyone else out there read that one?).

If you know of any other events planned for the Spring on the Ohio Bicentennial, please let me know; next week, I’ll have more to tell you about the March 1 event for “Statehood Day” and some basketball news. It is time to start letting go of football a little, isn’t it? Oh, but I will have to tell you about the “Souper Bowl” again next week, and no, that’s not a typo! We just like confusing the spell-check program here at the Hebron Crossroads.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church, where the first pastor used to skate along the Ohio Canal to get to his preaching appointments. If you have news with a keen edge to it, or some meandering figure eights to share word of, call 928-4066 or e-mail him at