Neighbors are opposing an idea to cover an ice rink in Lithia Park with a permanent roof.
In a letter and petitions delivered to the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department at the end of January, 18 neighbors said a permanent roof would be a costly eyesore.
The Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink had a temporary canopy that parks workers set up each winter, but it was crushed in 2007 by heavy snow and a tree. The seasonal rink has been without a roof since then. The temporary roof had already been repaired and was in need of further repairs when it was destroyed, parks staff said.
The Parks Commission has budgeted $112,000 to buy a new temporary roof but is also exploring the option of a permanent roof that would cost an estimated $500,000.
A temporary roof would last for 10 years while a permanent roof would last about 20 years, according to early estimates by parks staff.
In signed petitions given to the Parks Commission, neighbors said a permanent roof would be unduly expensive and would detract from Lithia Park's natural beauty during the spring, summer and fall.
Parks Director Don Robertson said the Parks Commission could explore roof options in depth in a March study session.
He cautioned that the estimates on cost and longevity for a temporary versus permanent roof are preliminary.
Staff made the estimates based on Ashland's experience with its temporary rink roof and Klamath Falls' experience with its larger permanent rink roof, Robertson said.
Further research is needed on the costs and lifespans of different roof types, he said.
"We are going to have ongoing conversations about it. If it doesn't pencil out, I don't think the commission will go down that path," he said of the permanent roof idea.
Whether temporary or permanent, a roof would protect the rink's ice from rain and the melting rays of the sun, while also sheltering skaters.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or email@example.com.