The Greenwich Athletic Foundation, Inc. (GAF) announced this week that on the RTM approved their gift of a new audio system for Dorothy Hamill Rink.
The gift is the first from the newly formed Greenwich Athletic Foundation, whose goal is to address the town’s deteriorating athletic facilities through public-private collaboration.
The gift of the audio system was approved by the RTM on June 12.
“I’m thrilled to learn that the GAF successfully raised the monies for a new sound system at the rink,” said former Greenwich resident and Olympic Champion Dorothy Hamill in a release. “I have enjoyed my love affair with ice skating all my life and it’s my hope that generations to come will embrace and enjoy the sport as much as me.”
Hamill said the new and updated sound system will enhance everyone’s positive experience at the rink.
The GAF was founded this year to create and support exemplary youth and high school sports programs and town facilities. Their mission is to work in cooperating with town departments.
“Strong youth and high school athletics programs are vital to the active, healthy culture and shared values of the community,” the GAF said in a release, adding that the foundation aims to become a channel for public/private partnerships toward that end.
Creation of the GAF reflects a grassroots movement that was prompted by the deterioration of the Town’s athletic facilities. The sound system at Hamill Rink is a good example, as it will benefit the GHS boys and girls ice hockey teams and will also benefit groups including the Greenwich Skating Club, Greenwich Blues, figure skating programs and General Skate.
The new audio system, a state-of-the-art system designed for use in skating rinks, will provide clear audio when playing music and making announcements.
Robert Burton, Jr, president of the GAF said the foundation was pleased the RTM approved their gift. He went on to thank Joe Siciliano and the Parks & Rec Dept for “unwavering” support of the project.
“I want to thank the rapidly growing membership of the GAF for their efforts in making the project happen,” Burton continued. “I especially want to commend the GAF Advisory Board member, Lee Milazzo for his efforts in working with the Parks & Recreation Dept.”
Having evolved into its present state piecemeal, Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink was first a simple slab of ice put down in 1971. It was encircled by a chain link fence. Established on a field by the former Byram School, the rink was an instant hit.
A few years later, bleachers were added and a roof erected. Later, walls were added and bleachers installed. A warming hut was built to house the Zamboni. Before locker rooms were added in late 90s, skaters changed inside tents. Today, there is a row of heated rooms, including a party room that can be rented, an officials room, a rentals booth, and an office with a ticket window. To create those spaces, the bleachers were lifted and relocated permanently on top of the ground floor rooms.
The rink is in need of modernization as it has no insulation. Nor is there heat or air conditioning. Each spring the ice is melted and rolls of green turf are unfurled, extending the rink’s use through the summer. But as the temperature soars outside, so it does inside. Since there is no foyer or vestibule to serve as a buffer from the elements, the temperature in the rink mirrors the temperature outside. In the summer soccer, t-ball, flag football and lacrosse are played on turf in the rink.
More information on the GAF can be found on their website: www.greenwichaf.com, were resident can submit suggestions for future projects that will benefit Greenwich youth sports.
The GAF was incorporated as a Connecticut non-stock corporation on May 11, 2017 and is in the process of drafting their 501(c))3 tax exemption application. Once that is done, the GAF will qualify as a tax exempt charitable organization that can receive tax deductible charitable contributions.
Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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