WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Aspiring uptown Olympians will be able to perfect their triple axels right in Washington Heights.
The city moved forward with plans this week to bring an ice rink to Highbridge Park, releasing a request for proposals for the development and operation of what will be the northernmost rink in Manhattan.
The 90-foot-by-220-foot rink will be built above the wading pool at West 173rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue and will operate annually from Oct. 15 to March 30, according to the Parks Department's proposal request.
The rink will have three mobile food units, skate rental and sharpening services and a warming tent, the documents shows. Six hours of free youth programs will be offered every week.
City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who committed $1 million in city funds for the park in October, said he was pleased to see the rink plan move forward.
"This project has been a dream for me for years now, and I am so happy to see it finally put in motion," he said. "Too often, our community is forced to travel for amenities such as skating rinks, indoor pools and more, but that is changing now, and we will soon have more opportunities for fun and excitement right here at home.
"I can't wait to take my daughters ice skating in Highbridge Park — a park that will experience a renaissance during the coming years," Rodriguez added.
The Parks Department has made other renovations to Highbridge Park in recent years, including $61 million repairs to High Bridge, a pedestrian span that connects the Bronx and Manhattan. The bridge, which has been closed for more than 40 years, will reopen this spring.
In addition, the Parks Department has teamed up with Parsons The New School for Design to renovate Higbridge's recreation center, and Rodriguez has mentioned plans to renovate the park's water tower.
The developments have Parks officials excited about the future of northern Manhattan's green spaces.
"With the reopening of the historic High Bridge at the end of 2014 linking the Bronx and Manhattan communities and connecting uptown to the citywide greenway network, we expect a big influx of park visitors to Northern Manhattan's facilities," Northern Manhattan Parks director Jennifer Hoppa said in an email announcing the rink RFP.
The full RFP can be seen below.