HANOVER -- For almost 20 years, a steady procession of Hanover County youths have honed their inline skating and roller hockey skills at the Barton Memorial Rink located off U.S. 301 near the Courthouse. That constant use has taken its toll, and recently the rink has been closed due to severe fissures in the surface, deeming the facility unsafe for use since April.
Parents Doug and Carol Barton, along with supporters and organizers of the rink, set up a Go Fund Me page to garner financial support for the needed upgrades, including a complete resurfacing. The Washington Capitals added some much needed support to that effort last month.
The Hanover County Board of Supervisors approved a grant from the pro hockey team earlier this month that will renovate, replenish and improve the current facility.
Director Derek Stamey of Hanover County Parks and Recreation announced the partnership at a supervisors’ meeting last month and work began almost immediately on the upgrades.
The rink was constructed and donated to the county in 2001 as a tribute to Matthew Barton, who died from a rare disease called Lymphoblastic Lymphoma at the age of 10. The Bartons lost their other son, Danny, at 19 due to complications of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.
“Tragically, the Bartons lost their son Matthew when he was 10 years old, a student at Pearson/s Corner Elementary School,” Stamey said. He was an avid hockey player.
Daniel passed away in 2010 and his name was added to the rink’s name.
Stamey said the efforts of the Bartons are a reflection of the type of people they are and their commitment to community.
“This speaks volumes about their character and how they could take a tragedy like this and turn it into such a positive light for our residents here in Hanover,” Stamey said.
The 20-year-old rink has been unusable for several months, but, when in operation, can accommodate street and roller hockey players and provide space for inline skating users.
Although several repaving efforts have been completed during the past two decades, the fixes were temporary and the county had scheduled a permanent resurfacing for 2025.
“It is 20 years old and in need of major repair,” Stamey said. “This is an opportunity for us to move this project forward and bring the rink up to speed a few years ahead of schedule.”
The Barton family has continued its connection to the track and raised more than $19,000 through a Go Fund Me account in the past year to assist with the much needed repairs.
The Doswell Energy Center donated $25,000 to the project, bringing the total funds available to $44,200.
Stamey said Dan Smith, assistant Parks and Rec director, contacted the Capitals and their youth Hockey Development Program concerning the rink and needed repairs.
Through Smith’s efforts, the county entered a memo of understanding with the Capitals that will provide funding to replace all rink boards, fencing and provide new state-of-the-art resurfacing. ‘
The NHL team also will provide a scoreboard and roller hockey equipment and training to all Hanover County Public Schools and Parks and Recreation.
The Capitals have committed $100,000 to the project.
The county is responsible for removing the current boards and surface.
“Basically, we’re doing the demo work and will install footings for the new board system,” Stamey said. The county also will commit to keeping the facility open for the next 20 years and allow the Capitals logo to be displayed at the site.
“It’s good to see the NHL coming to Hanover County,” said Cold Harbor supervisor Michael Herzberg, who was instrumental in brokering the deal with the Caps.
“This is a great example of team work and a win win win all the way for Parks and Rec and our citizens,” he added.
Vice chair Angela Kelly-Wiecek also expressed her appreciation to the Bartons for their continuing support and unwavering sense of community.
“This is fantastic for the Barton family who have lost so much but continue to turn that loss into such a positive gift for others,” Kelly-Wiecek said.