PITTSFIELD -- If Mother Nature cooperates, Osceola Park will be transformed into a wonderland of winter fun by next weekend.
In the next few days, the park could have an ice rink after Pittsfield firefighters on Friday started going to work to make one.
City officials also expect the park's rope tow to begin operating, possibly as soon as next weekend. The rope tow was expected to start carrying winter revelers up the hill beginning Saturday, but an ongoing review of the safety system will prevent it from being used until next weekend.
Once everything comes together, the park will be prime territory for skating and sledding, if snow remains on the ground or is added to by another storm.
"If the weather cooperates, we'll try to make it available as soon as possible," said Rebecca Tefft, the city's recreation activities coordinator.
The rope tow is expected to operate on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and on school holidays, between noon and 4 p.m.
Firefighters are scheduled to begin filling the ice rink with water this week, Tefft said. Last year a rink was made in the First Street Common, but construction in the area prevents a return to the location this winter. The availability of the Osceola Park rink will depend on the weather.
"Because its been so iffy with the weather it's been like a roller coaster," Tefft said of trying to create an outdoor rink.
Tina Schettini, who lives on Gale Street across the street from the park, was excited about the options.
"Winter fun is across the street every day for us," Schettini said. "We get ice skating and sledding for free."
Her 8-year-old daughter, Leena, spent part of Saturday afternoon staring out her window at the park anticipating be able to use the rope tow. After seeing that it wasn't working, she hit the snowy slopes anyway.
Despite there being no rope tow, she proclaimed she had traveled up and down the hill "30" times in the previous hour, or at least it felt that way to her tired feet. But that didn't stop her going for another ride down the slope.
Leena wasn't alone. There were more than a dozen children and adults riding down the hill using everything from life preservers to sleds.
Meanwhile, residents can enjoy some free skating at the Pittsfield Boys & Girls Club on scheduled days. The first 100 people through the door on Jan. 11 and 25 and Feb. 8 and 22 will be able to skate for free.