CHEBOYGAN — While the Ralph G. Cantile Ice Rink Pavilion was being closed during the end of the season shut down, some extra steps were taken to thoroughly clean the structure in case it is needed as an overflow location for coronavirus patients.


At the Cheboygan City Council meeting on April 14, Councilwoman Sara Johnston questioned some of the unpaid bills and disbursements for the month of March, both of which ended up having to do with the ice rink. There had been some work done to the chillers and compressors for the ice rink, which are used to keep the ice on the playing surface. This work is typically done every year to close the ice rink for the season.


"It's just a process they go through to drain the chillers and get them ready for the offseason," said Cheboygan City Manager Tom Eustice. "It is a routine maintenance issue, to basically, seasonally, shut it down."


A portion of the cost of the unpaid bill that was being approved had to do with a fix to one of the units, which did shut off at the ice rink one night and a service call had to be made for a professional to come in and look at the unit. This service call was to get the glycol levels up where they needed to be, as well as fixing the compressor that had shut off.


"It was a pretty simple fix, but it was beyond any of us that were looking at it," said Cheboygan Mayor Pro-Tem Nick Couture.


The second bill Johnston had asked about was the bill for disinfecting of contact surfaces, to find out what that entailed and what was disinfected.


"Not because I am questioning the invoice," said Johnston. "I'm just curious as to how extensive that may have been."


The disinfecting that was done ended up being very extensive, with the entire interior of the ice rink being deep cleaned.


"We basically sanitized the interior of the entire rink," said Eustice. "Cleaning the bleachers, we power washed with bleach, all the interior walls, for them to be painted this summer."


Eustice said the mats that were in the shower area of the locker rooms were also removed, because they were in pretty bad shape. There will be a different surface put down on the floors and in the showers.


"It was about a five-day process," said Eustice.


While the crews were at the ice rink, they power washed every floor and wall in the building, as well as the bleachers, and the ice rink surface.


"So, if by chance we ever had to use that facility for COVID-19, in a separate hospital location, that's why we even power washed the ice surface itself," said Eustice. "So the rink is completely sanitized. Hopefully we don't ever have to use it for medical purposes, but it is prepped to paint the entire facility this summer."


Johnston said this was all very good to hear, she hadn't really thought about the ice rink being used for that purpose, but it's good to know that it's available.


The power washing is not something that is routinely done, but the city staff had planned on preparing the rink to be painted. So, they thought it would be best to take it one step further and sanitize the structure at the same time.


"We kind of extended it further, to do the entire rink, just for the COVID-19 purpose," said Eustice. "We thought as long as we were power washing the facility, we had the people there, we did the entire rink, including bleachers. Everything."


Also at the meeting, Eustice said the city was still planning on doing its city wide brush pick up, beginning April 27 and going through May 8. This will be to pick up the brush and yard debris from city residents' yards who have begun cleaning up.


"I don't think there's a concern with the six foot distancing," said Eustice.


Typically, there are two city employees who are doing the brush pick up, but one is in a front end loader and the other is in a truck and on the ground, so they aren't in close proximity to each other.


"So we are going to proceed with brush and leaves pick up," said Eustice.


At this point, the city has also scheduled a city wide garbage clean up and pick up on May 9, where there are multiple large dumpsters placed around the city, for people to take their larger items to dispose of, similar to last year's event. More details will be made available at a later time, when the city decides whether it is feasible to move forward with this event due to COVID-19.