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Feb 29, 2016 4:49 PM

Officials say vandalism forces Strawbery Banke ice rink to shut down a week early

PORTSMOUTH- The Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond is shutting down a week early, and it has nothing to do with the mild weather.

Officials at Strawbery Banke believe a possible act of vandalism caused their chiller system to shut down overnight.

Managers showed up Monday morning to open the rink and discovered a valve had been forced open, causing hundreds of gallons of glycol (a refrigerant) to shoot out. As of Monday afternoon, most of the ice had melted. They determined it would be too costly to replace the glycol and were forced to shut down for the season, a week sooner than originally planned.

The nonprofit will lose out on not only a week's worth of ticket sales and private bookings, but they will also have to eventually replace all of the glycol that was lost.

"What makes this project so amazing is how much it's been embraced by the community in terms of in kind donations and cash donations. When the rink is open, it's open for the community," said Rodney Rowland, Director of Special Projects and Facilities at Strawbery Banke.

Strawbery Banke worked with the EPA to ensure a proper clean up and say there is no threat to the environment.

The facility has a webcam set up that may have captured an image of whoever did this.

They will be turning that footage over to Portsmouth Police.

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