GREATER MANKATO AREA

Minnesota is the state of hockey.

Nowhere else would you find about a dozen ice skating rinks in a town of 50,000+ people.

Those rinks are about to be ready for public use as crews are working diligently to prepare them for the winter season.

"With the temperatures last week it was a little too warm to start," said Water and Parks Superintendent of North Mankato Duane Rader.  "We got the snow out of the way on Monday and Tuesday and started prep yesterday and flooding today and we'll continue on."

The Mankato/North Mankato area has plenty of rinks to choose from.

Pretty much every major park within the two towns have a rink available for skating enthusiasts.

Some parks offer hard surfaces while others offer soft.  Preparations for the two are a little bit different.

"For the hard surface rinks we have to make sure that our edges are sealed up so that the water stays inside while it freezes," explained Ashley Steevens from the City of Mankato.  "With our grass base rinks, we usually try to wait for a nice snowfall and pack it down a little bit and make a nice firm base and then do light shots of water to build that base and then we can start flooding from there."

Crews say some of the hard surface rinks, like at Thomas and Stoltzman Park in Mankato, will be used as early as tonight.

As for North Mankato?

"Your forecast at KEYC says Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 29 degrees and sunny which makes it a little tough for ice making but we'll continue flooding during the night and hopefully by the beginning or middle of next week the rinks will be available," added Rader.

The soft surface rinks will not be ready for a little bit either as crews are still working on building that initial ice layer.

--KEYC News 12