It was just over a month ago that one of the City of Saint Paul’s most popular skating rinks was hit by thieves who stole more than 256 feet of copper pipe from the Phalen Recreation Center refrigerated outdoor skating rink. Fortunately, a local company, NAC Mechanical and Electrical Services and a supply partner of theirs, Mulcahy Company, Inc., knew of the theft and offered a holiday-season helping hand with a donation of all labor and materials required to make the repairs. Following more than a week of work, the repairs are now finished, and the rink is ready for skaters.
"We're rooted in this community, and so is this rink. We couldn’t let this rink be taken from the kids and families of Saint Paul and we had a solution to prevent this from happening again," said NAC Mechanical and Electrical Services President Lynn Bishop. “We wanted to get the rink back to the community and with the help of our supplier, Mulcahy Co., Inc. we could make that happen.”
Parks and Recreation Department staff estimated the theft would jeopardize the beginning of the skating season, and would cost the City upwards of $20,000 to fix with similar materials. The estimated “scrap value” of the theft was estimated at around a couple hundred dollars.
Following the theft, Mayor Chris Coleman gave the Parks and Recreation Department clear directions to bring the rink back online as soon as possible, and to research alternatives that might replace the copper to help protect the rink in the future. The solution delivered by NAC Mechanical and Electrical Services and Mulcahy Co., Inc. is a non-copper, plastic-based composite type material called “Heat-link" that has little-to-no scrap value, and was tested to ensure it would be able to withstand the harsh Minnesota elements.
“Saint Paul’s refrigerated ice rinks are tremendous community assets, and the rink at Phalen is one of the best, and most used in the region. What these thieves did could have impacted thousands of kids and families this winter, but we are grateful we have companies like NAC Mechanical and Electrical Services and Mulcahy Co., Inc. that are willing to step up and help us out,” Mayor Chris Coleman said.
Saint Paul Parks & Recreation has more than 20 free, public outdoor ice rinks, including three permanent refrigerated rinks at Phalen, North Dale and Palace Recreation Centers. The refrigerated rinks add as much as 6 weeks to the skating season, and ensure prime ice quality throughout winter months. Each year, Saint Paul’s rinks serve more than 100,000 skaters throughout the city. In 2009, the refrigerated rink at Phalen Recreation Center played host to the Hockey Day Minnesota festivities which included both a boys and girls high school hockey game, and accounts for almost 15,000 skaters each season.
Phalen Recreation Center is located at 1000 E. Wheelock Pkwy, Saint Paul 55106