Congdon Park Hockey In Danger of Losing Their Ice
Neighbors want the Lower Chester Park to be more user-friendly all year long.
Duluth’s Congdon Park Hockey Association is in danger of losing its outdoor rink for the second time in less than five years.
Congdon Park Hockey wants to keep their home in Lower Chester Park for years to come, but they fear new plans for the park would leave them without a place to lace their skates.
UMD senior Connor Kenefick picked up hockey when he moved to Duluth from the Twin Cities. He goes to Lower Chester Park whenever he has free time to get on the ice.
“I love coming up here, just seeing everyone’s passion. It’s been kind of awesome to see this rink and all the others. They really put a lot of time and effort to keep these places running,” said Kenefick.
Neighbors of Lower Chester Park want to make the park more user-friendly year round, but the Congdon Park Hockey Association feels they could be left out. The association uses the rinks in the winter for their programs.
“There’s going to be a great deal of input from both groups through the planning process,” said Duluth city councilor Joel Sipress.
Congdon Park Hockey has formed a petition to save their ice. “It would just be sad for people in my shoes not to see kind of what Duluth hockey is like,” said Kenefick.
Neighbors have responded by saying that hockey and green space could co-exist. They said this in a statement on their website: “It remains to be determined whether or not we can accommodate the full scope of the CPH program without sacrificing our entire green–space.”
“I’m very optimistic it’s going to be a reconciliation process. There is no plan to remove Congdon Hockey from our Chester Park,” said Sipress.
A love of outdoor hockey keeps Kenefick on the ice. “I feel there’s somewhere to work it out and work other things in,” he said.
It also keeps him and other connected to the community and hoping for a compromise. “Outdoor hockey is a huge part of our culture and our youth and just about everybody in town embraces and supports that,” said Sipress.
Congdon Park Hockey currently serves around seventy families in its programs. The city plans to take comments from both sides of the issue as they begin to update the mini-master plan for the park.