The Bronx’ only public skating rink is set to close this Friday without a promise that a permanent rink will replace it this year. The beginner’s rink, which is sponsored by the 161st Street Business Improvement District, has provided free lessons, free rental skates and free hot chocolate to hundreds of Bronx youth during February. But the Parks Department still has no plan to provide a full-size, permanent rink in the borough.
The Bronx is the only borough without a rink.
“The kids love the rink. The schools enjoy the rink. The community wants a rink,” said BID executive director, Dr. Cary Goodman. “The Yankee replacement parks have space and money. It is a mystery why nothing is being done.
”The Yankee replacement parks have a budget of nearly $200 million according to their project manager, Frank McCue. The overall expense budget citywide for the Parks Department exceeds $330 million, and the capital budget is nearly $2 billion.
“A Stadium district ice rink would cost a fraction of a percent of the replacement park budget,” Goodman noted. “A rink would be great for merchants, residents, visitors and those who work in the area.”
During February, students from more than a dozen schools, day care centers and community organizations have visited the BID rink and received instruction from Parks personnel.
“We’ve had a good partnership with Parks this month during the Olympics,” said Goodman. “Now we need them to create a permanent rink. It is only fair.”
The 20’ x 40’ rink has been housed at 900 Grand Concourse, at the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council and the former site of the Concourse Plaza Hotel. It was dedicated by U.S. Olympic skater, Jeremy Abbott on January 29.