Call it ‘Whoa-llman’ rink! City scales back park plan

The Brooklyn Paper
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Deluxe features for a new skating rink in Prospect Park have been eliminated to save money — and construction on the re-imagined pavilion is delayed at least until 2011 when fundraisers hope to have the remaining $15 million need to pay for the entire project.

Originally pegged at $50 million, costs for the planned Lakeside Center — which would include two skating successors to the aging Wollman Rink — skyrocketed past $75 million last year, an amount that forced the Prospect Park Alliance to eliminate an high-priced second story and publicly accessible rooftop from the attraction.

“They were very expensive,” said Tupper Thomas, president of the group. “So we redid it.”

By cutting the year-round complex to a one-floor building with an off-limits roof, the price tag hovers around $60 million. Thomas said $45 million is in the bank.

“The trick will be to raise another $15 million in this climate. Construction will probably start in March 2011, but there are some parts I think we can start sooner.”

While the long-awaited ice– and roller–skating rinks had to be scaled back, other revisions to the plan may simplify navigating the park’s roadways for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Thomas said access to the parking lot near the skating zone on the eastern side of the park would be improved by opening the Lincoln Road entrance, which shoots directly into the parking area. Currently, motorists must enter farther away at Ocean and Parkside avenues and share the East Drive with joggers and bicyclists — an often contentious and occasionally dangerous mingling on the roadway — until they arrive at the public lot.

“This dangerous section will be much better,” the park chief told The Brooklyn Paper.

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Reader Feedback

Steve from Fort Greene says:
It's unfortunate that a project meant to benefit skaters must eliminate features for the new rink so that car traffic inside the park can be encouraged.

Perhaps those who wish to skate should simply be encouraged to use public transit to travel to Prospect Park and then walk a few blocks to the skating rink. This would cost little and would eliminate the "contentious and occasionally dangerous mingling on the roadway."

Why must car traffic be a feature of Prospect Park?
Feb. 15, 2009, 6:11 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Hey, I have an idea. Lets leave the park a park.

No offense and respectfully stated, The Park Alliance is completely out of their minds. This group believes that Prospect Park is somehow their private green field for upper class fantasies. Oh no, the dog owners! How provincial of these people with their animals (yuk!) to use the park. How rude!

If you want a fancy park with glitz and amusements, go to Disney world, and make your fantasies come true. Leave Prospect Park for the real Brooklyn people (ouch); those city dwellers among us who dream in the real world, who appreciate public space, no bells and whistles, just a park.
Feb. 16, 2009, 9:16 pm

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