BY KATHERINE LAZARUS
PROCTOR –– Proctor’s ice-skating rink has a new summer gig. It has converted its spacious and level asphalt surface to a roller-skating rink as part of the town’s summer rec program.
“I love that we can open it year around,” said Proctor resident Megan Cannucci, 41, who has run the rink for the past four years with her husband Brian, 40. “It used to sit unused for nine months out of the year, which was such a waste.”
But, like all good things, it didn’t happen on its own.
Starting in April, the Cannuccis and a group of area residents raised $6,500 from a bottle drive and donations over five weeks. They got the town to prep the asphalt surface and then ordered the skates in June and, after a bunch of behind-the-scenes organizing, opened on July 2 with $500 left over that the town will release to the rink on an as-needed basis.
The Cannuccis also applied for and received a grant for another wooden shelf through the town, as it owns the rink and adjacent log cabin that serves as the skating center, storage and snacks. The shelf will store the 110 pair of roller-skates, sized from kids 10 to adults 13, with at least four pair in each size, including glow-in-the-dark skates. Along with the skates, were a lot of little details, like getting roller-skate wrenches to tighten the wheel bearings and brakes when necessary.
This summer the rink saw an average of about 60 kids and adults every week from the community as well as tourists from out of state, particularly folks staying in Killington, Megan said. Skaters can come for free (although donations are welcome), and have access to helmets and pads if they want. All skaters have to fill out a waiver to skate, or on really hot days, the log cabin was a great place to hang out in as it is air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. The cabin also offers games, TV and snacks at affordable prices.
“I love being with the kids. It brings the community together and it’s such a fun thing to do,” said Cannucci. “And so many adults come in and relive their childhood.”
Cannucci and her husband run the program on a volunteer basis with a yearly stipend from the town.
As part of the town’s rec program, the Proctor Skate Rink hosts many activities through the summer and school year, including: night skating; a movie night with an early show for kids and a second movie for adults on a 15-foot screen; mac and cheese and chili challenges; a community potluck; and Halloween parties and dances. The rink is working on getting a disco ball, Cannucci said.
The schedule is dependent on the Cannuccis, who both work full-time. Megan is a teacher at the Children’s Center in Proctor and Brian is a technician for Proctor Gas. Plus, they have four children — Kaileigh, 8; Brayden, 11; Riley, 13; and Cameron, 16 — who volunteer at the skating rink when they can, but also require their parent’s time getting them to school and extracurriculars events. Megan posts the schedule a day or two in advance on their Facebook page (facebook.com/PSR2018), yet these hours are subject to the weather and available volunteers.
Along with the Cannucci family, the rink benefits from volunteers Desiree Moody, 41, Andre Greb and Alyssa Falco, who are always willing to help out, Cannucci said.
When they are open, it’s a welcoming scene.
“We’re open to everyone, it’s free and it’s great exercise,” said Cannucci, “so come on out.”