Area children looking for something to do this weekend may want to try ice skating at free rinks established in three Brooke County communities.
Follansbee, Wellsburg and Beech Bottom each have portable rinks purchased with local funds.
The Follansbee rink is on the city's youth football league practice field just north of the Rite Aid store on state Route 2. City Manager John DeStefano said temporary lights have been established at the site and will be on until 10 p.m. each day.
The Wellsburg rink is on the basketball court at the Betty Carr Recreation Site, a park along the Ohio River and near 17th and Charles streets.
Beech Bottom's rink is at the Third Street Playground, which is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Crews put up the three rinks after the area sustained consistent freezing temperatures needed to solidify the water they filled them with.
Though the Beech Bottom rink was purchased last winter, the village wasn't able to use it because the temperature wasn't at freezing long enough, Beech Bottom Mayor George Lewis noted.
Purchased with about $1,700 in local funds, the rink was among suggestions for the village submitted for an art exhibit held by the village, its neighborhood watch program and the Appalachian Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University in 2011.
Follansbee Police Chief John Schwertfeger suggested a rink for Follansbee and secured a grant for the project from C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc. in 2009. Follansbee City Council decided in 2010 to replace the first rink with a larger one, at a cost of $4,945, and move it from an area near the city's softball field to its present location.
Wellsburg officials also tried placing the rink at the city's Central Park before moving it to the Betty Carr Recreation Site. It was purchased with $3,293 in local funds.
Wellsburg Mayor Sue Simonetti said the rink was suggested by the city's park and recreation committee to offer children and adults an opportunity for some outdoor winter fun.
(Staff writer Warren Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)