Loreto Playground roller rink to be replaced

The underutilized Loreto Playground will be converted into a multi use field again.
File photo

Tear down that rink!

The long-underutilized roller rink at Loreto Playground will be replaced with a multi-use field, thanks to funds allocated by Senator Jeff Klein.

Klein announced the news, that $1 million in capital funds from the 2014-2015 state budget will be used to transform the park, at the Morris Park Community Association’s annual dinner dance on Saturday, March 14.

“It was just a wonderful surprise,” said Community Board 11 Park’s Committee chair Joanne Rubino.

The board voted in late 2013 to replace the rink, and began looking for ways to pay for what they though would be a several million dollar project.

After further review, the parks department estimated ripping out and replacing the rink would cost close to $1 million, said Rubino.

Klein came through for the neighborhood, after promising last year that he would explore funding opportunities for the project.

“By investing in our local parks, we are making sure that Bronx children and families not only have a top quality space to play, but a place to host their little league games, fall soccer matches, sports practice after school or simply a family picnic,” said Klein. “That’s why I am proud to have secured $1 million in state funding to transform Loreto Park and ensure it remains a top destination for all Bronx residents.”

The roller rink was built in 2005 as a result of a $1 million allocation from then Councilwoman Madeline Provenzano.

“It worked out for a few years,” said MPCA president Tony Signorile.

But when the Morris Park Hockey League folded a few years later, the rink was rarely used for it’s intended purpose. Instead, it’s used mainly by dog walkers and young loiterers.

Signorile said that replacing the rink has been a priority of his since he was elected president of the community association in 2013.

“Why should we keep a rink that nobody uses in the park?” said Signorile.

“A park needs to be used – it’s such a shame,” said Rubino.

They’re both looking forward to a multi-use field that could be used for both soccer and softball, popular sports in the neighborhood.

Local residents will be happy with the recreation area, said Signorile, as will nearby merchants when people start coming to the park for games.

But what the new field will look like exactly is unclear, as the project is still in preliminary phases.

Rubino is optimistic that the Parks Department, which is notoriously slow moving, will replace the rink soon so it can be used for recreation in the near future.

“Let’s get this moving,” said Signorile.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at 718-260-4591. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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