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Highbridge Park Ice Rink Plan Dropped After No One Wanted to Run it

By Carolina Pichardo | April 29, 2016 11:12am | Updated on May 2, 2016 8:54am
 Parks Department officials and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said no one responded to the two requests for proposals issued in past two years.
Parks Department officials and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said no one responded to the two requests for proposals issued in past two years.
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Flickr/Kristin Resurreccion

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Plans for an uptown skating rink that have been on thin ice for more than two years were dropped after a failure to get interest from businesses to develop, operate and manage it.

The project that would have put the skating rink above the wading pool on Amsterdam Avenue at 173rd Street was slated to open each year from Oct. 15 to March 30. It would have included three mobile food outlets, a warming tent and a shop.

“There was no interest in the market,” Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said during Tuesday’s Community Board 12 meeting. “No one responded to run that outdoor ice skating rink.”

Rodriguez, who was championing the project and had allocated $1.3 million dollars for it, said he wasn’t surprised the project tanked after another rink in Van Cortlandt Park closed.

The Parks Department said it issued two request for proposals for the project.

The department made extensive outreach to potential ice skating concessionaires and adjusted the language of the RFP to make it more appealing, allowing for “more flexibility and creativity with regards to the layout of the ice rink,” a spokesman said.

The second RFP allowed the rink operator to use more of the locker rooms, run a holiday market and sell alcoholic beverages for special events provided they obtain a license for it.

The Parks Department has been transforming the Highbridge Park area, which is where the pool sits, with several renovations, including $61 million worth of repairs to the bridge that reopened June 2015.

Parks said the ice rink idea had now been dropped. Rodriguez is requesting that the community send thoughts about what to do with the funds that had been allocated to the project.

“If anyone has any other ideas, please feel free to contact my office,” he said.