Thursday, July 21, 2011

Professional ice rink at Armory advances, making rink at VC Park a joke

For your consideration, the Armory ice skating rink story from this week's paper:

By Brendan McHugh

Proposals for the Kingsbridge Armory include everything from a giant church to an arts and crafts market, but a frontrunner for the nine-story building includes a charter school and ice-skating rinks.
The Kingsbridge Armory - skating rinks?

Developed by former New York Ranger Mark Messier’s management company, the plan includes year-round indoor rinks and even an outdoor rink during the winter months.

“I think they’re real serious contenders,” Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation president Marlene Cintron said. “Because they’re not asking for a dime, they have to be seriously considered.”

Jump below for the rest of the story.

The Kingsbridge Armory Task Force, led by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., spent over a year discussing ideas for the vacant building with various organizations. Last month, they released a 267-page document highlighting the ideas that were presented to them, and now has called on the city to release a new request for proposals to fill the armory.

According to Cintron, there would be public skating time on a daily basis, and the charter school in the armory would have mandatory daily time on the ice.

“The skating rink would be the most formidable,” she said of all the ideas proposed. “It would utilize the complete site for a number of things, including the charter school.” She added that the skating rinks would also meet another demand—fighting childhood obesity.

The report released by the task force doesn’t have updated information about the rink, but Cintron said Messier’s company recently gave her visuals of what they’d create. They include at least six, possibly nine, separate rinks, and a full size sports arena that could be used to house a minor league hockey team or a WNBA team.

In the report, the arena could handle 5,000 to 6,000 seats. The space could also be converted to accommodate religious services, graduations, concerts and other major events.

The city originally tried to allow Related Companies to build a shopping mall at the armory, but in 2009 Diaz pushed the “living wage” issue with the City Council and eventually the council blocked the mall. Diaz also cited that any jobs a retail center brought to the area would be countered with the loss of jobs at Fordham Road.

The multi-rink skating center comes on the heels of a separate skating rink being planned two miles north in Van Cortlandt Park. That rink—only one—has been shrouded in mystery and has caused community residents to question the plan altogether. Planned to be between the Stadium and the No. 1 elevated train at 242nd Street and Broadway, community board members have had to drag information about the rink out of the parks department ever since the beginning of this year when Mayor Bloomberg—surprisingly—announced it in his State of the City speech.

Freedom of Information Law requests have come back with no new information, and even though the city has set a date for an official hearing on the rink—August 8—the parks department continues to delay the release of the final proposal for what the rink will look like.

Community Board 8 is meeting to discuss the rink Wednesday, July 27 at the Riverdale Jewish Center. They may vote on a recommendation to give to the Franchise and Concessions Review Committee, the body that will have the only decisive vote on the plan.

No comments:

Post a Comment