GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. - For the first time in years, the Railroad Street Youth Project in Great Barrington is turning their skate park into an ice skating rink.
Skate Park Coordinator Sam Riva said, "They wanted to see what young people were looking for in this time of need, and it came back very apparent that they wanted an outdoor space to kind of get together and to be able to socially distance socialize, if that makes sense, so an ice rink came to mind."
Riva braved the frigid temperatures last week to get the rink set up. He says there were a lot of behind-the-scenes meetings to get the project approved.
"We had to get a budget together for the town, and like what we'd be doing and all these questions that the town had for us just to make sure that it's something safe and something COVID-friendly," Riva said.
The rink is open Wednesday through Sunday and is completely free and open to the public.
Riva says they were able to recruit a team of volunteers to run it and make sure everyone stays safe.
"We've been training the volunteers to make sure everyone wears their masks, socially distance, and then kind of just ensure safety around the ice, so like if someone gets hurt or something, we have a volunteer here who's trained and who's ready to help out," Riva said.
In addition to being a place to learn to skate, Riva says the rink can serve as a replacement for their youth drop-in center which has been closed for months because of the pandemic.
Riva said, "It's just a way for them to come down here and be like, 'okay, let's have a conversation, come down here, we can talk about things, we can go ice skating, and just have a good time."