Longtime residents think of it as the “new” skating rink.
Newcomers assume it’s been here forever.
In fact, this year the Westport Police Athletic Rink at Longshore celebrates its 25th anniversary.
That’s right. Every winter since 1997 — with support from Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department — the PAL has operated one of the town’s best family (and solo) activities (and bargains).
That first year, a small rink was set up in the parking lot next to the Longshore Inn.
But — thanks to generous donors, and a huge demand for wholesome, fun outdoor entertainment — a larger rink was purchased.
In its 5th year, the rink was expanded to its current size: 75 feet by 144 feet.
The rink is versatile. In addition to public skating, lessons and private party rentals, it’s also used by area hockey teams.
Of course, the rink is not the only PAL project. Established in 1948, they run youth programs in football, cheer, basketball, rugby, wrestling, lacrosse and track and field.
The PAL awards annual scholarships too.
And of course, they do all the heavy lifting for Westport’s annual July 4th fireworks show.
This week though — with the opening of the 25th Longshore skating season — the focus is on the PAL’s rink.
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