Saturday morning about 50 volunteers showed up at Wayland's Cochituate Field wearing work clothes and carrying tools to lay the groundwork for two ice rinks that will now open as soon as Mother Nature cooperates.
"This is a tradition coming back," said Board of Selectmen member Joe Nolan. Nolan, who grew up in Wayland, said he remembers the basketball courts at being flooded and used as ice rinks when he was a kid. It has been many years, however, since that took place.
"It's [building the rinks] a fantastic idea," said Nolan, whose three kids all play hockey and he expects will use the rinks often this winter.
Warmed by coffee and donuts from the across the street, volunteers nailed together the boards for a 100-foot-by-100-foot rink and and 150-foot-by-50 foot rink. By the end of the work period, the square rink held its first few inches of water.
A few complications with the longer rectangular rink meant that it had to be relocated on the field Monday morning, but Department of Public Works Director Don Ouellette said that rectangular rinks should be filled by Monday evening.
The square rink, Ouellette said, had about an inch of ice on it Monday morning after the bitterly cold Sunday night. The ice must thicken by several inches yet, however, before it will be usable as a rink.
Volunteer rink builder Dave Poole said Saturday morning that he came to help build the rink simply as a means of supporting the community. His family lives near Dudley Pond and has skated there in winters past, but the rinks at Cochituate Field, he said, are "another venue to try out."
Nolan said the community turn out to build the rinks marked the project as a success already.
"It's an awesome display of community," Nolan said, looking around at the work taking place around him Saturday. "It's already a success."
Micahael Wegerbauer, a member of the Board of Public Works, said in an email that his favorite part of Saturday's rink build occurred when a driver stopped her car at about 2:30 p.m. and "jumped out."
"[She] asked us if these rinks [were] for the town's use, to which we responded in the affirmative, and she shouted, "I love this place!" Wegerbauer wrote.
Hours and scheduling for the rinks remain under discussion.