Quiet Waters can't fix rink for skating season


The ice rink at Quiet Waters Park will be closed this year, costing the park an estimated $40,000 in profits, Anne Arundel County officials announced yesterday.

The $18 million Annapolis park also has other problems. Water is leaking into two buildings, meaning the roofs must be replaced. That will cost an estimated $425,000, said Jay Cuccia, chief of special facilities in the Parks and Recreation Department.

"The issue becomes -- what's more important, replacing the roofs or fixing the rink?" he said. "While it is an unpopular decision, we feel that it is more important to fix the roofs first and then take care of the rink."

The rink, which opened four years ago, draws about 1,000 skaters a day during the Christmas holidays and generates about $40,000 in profits from the concession stand and park passes, Mr. Cuccia said yesterday.

Though the steel pipes embedded in the rink's concrete foundation were repaired during the spring, they are still leaking. These leaks make it impossible to keep the Freon, which chills the ice, flowing through the pipes. The rink cost about $950,000 to build and was open three years before it was closed last Dec. 15, after park crews discovered the ice was melting.

Since then, workers from C. W. Davis Inc., the New York contracting company that built the rink, have worked to plug the leaks.

"They would find a leak, jackhammer the cement to patch the pipe and then recharge the system," Mr. Cuccia said. "But then another leak would spring."

M. Joseph Cannon, director of the county Parks and Recreation Department, said the pipes have leaked because of extensive corrosion.

During a news conference yesterday, Mr. Cannon said that county lawyers are considering suing the contractor because it has not been able to fix the rink.

"The county government has the responsibility to recover the financial losses," Mr. Cannon said. "It would be irresponsible to spend additional county funds for temporary repairs until all the possible legal remedies are exhausted."

Robert McHargue, president of C. W. Davis Inc., said his company was willing to work with the county to solve the problem.

"We are willing to do that as far as our obligation requires us to," he said. "There is some confusion as to what our obligations are."

Mr. McHargue said his company built the rink based on a plan by Greenman and Peterson, a Laurel design firm.

Mr. Cuccia said an independent engineering firm examined the rink and said replacing it would cost about $350,000, installing a new cooling system would cost about $475,000 and pouring a new concrete slab and replacing the tubing would cost about $220,000.

Mr. Cuccia said the County Council has given the Parks Department about $170,000 for repairs. However, that is not enough to fix the rink or replace the roofs on the conference and visitors centers.

The roof leaks were discovered after this summer's heavy rains. An independent contractor examined the roofs and told county officials the roofs were not built according to industry standards.

Mr. Cuccia said county lawyers have not yet been in touch with the Annapolis contractor who built the centers. County officials are also discussing who should held be responsible for the park's problems.

"We feel that we did not get what we paid for," Mr. Cuccia said. "We were told that the rink could be used for 20 to 25 years without any problem.

"We basically got a letter from the contractor's lawyers that said we have gotten what we paid for."

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