Backyard Hockey Rink at Richard Nixon's Former Home Gets Chilly Reception From Neighbors

Hockey rink at Nixon's former home in Washington, D.C.
Hockey rink at Nixon's former home in Washington, D.C.

It seems like the owner of one of Richard Nixon's former homes in Washington, D.C., is becoming the neighborhood's "Tricky Dick."

Brooke B. Coburn, a high-roller at a private equity firm, has reportedly irked residents for quite some time with extensive renovation projects at the house, where then-Vice President Nixon lived with his family from 1957 to 1961. He's been turning the quiet cul-de-sac into a noisy, congested mess, neighbors say. But the icing on the cake was an unusual addition that only became clear to neighbors a few weeks ago: Coburn has installed a backyard hockey rink.

Why, you might ask? So his two sons, who play hockey, can get in some practice.

"Can people do this?" said next-door neighbor Jack Lindsay in The Washington Post. "I've never heard of having an ice-skating rink in the backyard of a residential neighborhood. That took everybody aback."

Richard Nixon's former home in Washington, D.C.
Richard Nixon's former home in Washington, D.C.

The 30-by-64-foot rink is an eyesore to some in the neighborhood, and comes after what they view as other disruptions. Coburn previously built a new swimming pool on the property and made several landscaping upgrades, causing construction noise that reportedly bothered the whole neighborhood. The rink was "the straw that broke the camel's back," Lindsay said.

After the rink went in, neighbors contacted local officials to complain. It was found that while it's legal in D.C. to have an ice rink in your backyard, Coburn was one blade over the line. According to the Washington Business Journal, a construction permit for the rink was issued last Friday, but neighbors told the Post that the rink went in about two weeks ago.

"There was a minor oversight over one of the permits, and it's being addressed," Coburn told the Post.

Despite the hiccup, the rink is free to stay in Coburn's backyard after the contractor submitted project drawings for review, said Helder Gil of the local Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. A permit for fencing on the property is still under review, Gil said.

Despite his neighbors' gripes, Coburn doesn't seem to be holding a grudge. He told the Post: "Complaints aside, my neighbors' children are welcome to come over and skate over the holidays."

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Originally published