The rink is returning. After Gov. Phil Scott threw his political capital behind the cause, Vermonters will once again be able to lace up their skates and take to the ice on the Statehouse lawn.
The Capitol Complex Commission, which oversees the "architectural and aesthetic integrity" of the Statehouse and its grounds, reversed a decision it made last month to not approve the rink for the upcoming winter. Among its concerns was the debatably unsightly fence built around last winter's rink.
The group of volunteers who had worked to create the rink reported that it had been popular last season. "We’re disappointed that we’ll be losing the rink as a downtown community attraction this winter,” organizer Kimberley McKee said last month.
Scott was among those who expressed dismay at the commission's decision, telling reporters at a press conference that he'd bring his own hose to fill the rink if necessary.
He announced on Twitter Friday that the commission had revised its decision.
Sharpen your skates! Thanks to the Capitol Complex Commission for voting to support a skating rink on the state house lawn. Looking forward to helping build the rink and celebrating its opening this season! ⛸⛸
Scott subsequently tweeted a photo of himself headed toward the Statehouse lawn with a green garden hose draped over his shoulder.
Communications director Rebecca Kelley clarified that the photo was staged. However, she noted, "I think he is ready, willing and able to flood the rink when it's ready."
Heather Shouldice, chair of the Capitol Complex Commission, told Seven Days in an email that “the CCC did not reverse its decision." In November, one member made a motion to approve the rink but couldn't get anyone to second it, which, in her view, "left the door open for the applicants to come back to us with a proposal." Shouldice continued, "We negotiated to move forward to provide a long term, well engineered, sustainable rink in the Capitol Complex. The result was good for everyone."
This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. on December 9, 2017, to include comments from Heather Shouldice.