Hopes For Battery Park City Ice Rink Melt

By Julie Shapiro on July 26, 2011 12:45pm 

BATTERY PARK CITY — Battery Park City won't be getting an ice rink this winter.

Hope for the rink melted Tuesday morning with the announcement that the Battery Park City Authority had failed to find an operator for the rink for the second year in a row.

The authority solicited bids for an operator earlier this year, but "unfortunately we received no responses," said Gayle Horwitz, president of the Battery Park City Authority.

Horwitz said the authority would continue working on a rink, but it would not open until the fall of 2012 at the earliest.

Jeff Galloway, a Battery Park City resident who chaired Community Board 1's task force on the ice rink, said he hoped the kinks could be worked out and a rink could finally open next year.

"I'm disappointed, but I'm not prepared to give up," Galloway said.

Battery Park City hosted a popular but money-losing rink in the winter of 2009-10, with the operator leaving after just one season. Residents have been clamoring for the rink to return ever since.

Last year, the Battery Park City Authority also received no responses to its request for proposals for a rink operator. While the authority started the process earlier this year, Galloway said it may not have been early enough for operators to plan for the winter.

Another challenge was that the likely location of the rink, the Battery Park City ballfields, are currently being converted to artificial turf. Potential rink operators may have been concerned about putting forth a proposal while the rink location is still under construction, Horwitz said.

One idea for next year is to do a smaller rink geared toward young children that would require smaller capital investment and could prove that a Battery Park City rink is financially viable, Galloway said.

Another possibility is to seek a public subsidy for the rink, but the Battery Park City Authority had hoped to make money from the rink operator, not to support it with tax dollars.

"I do think the rink would add a lot to the community," Galloway said. "But we have to find someone who is willing to operate it."

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