Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced completion of a $2.6 million NY Works project to renovate the Riverbank State Park ice rink in Harlem. The winter skating season kicked off this afternoon with an evening that included skills clinics led by members of the New York Rangers, youth hockey games, and skating as well as an exhibition hockey game featuring Rangers alumni.
“The newly restored Riverbank State Park ice rink is a great resource for the Harlem community, and I am glad to see the rink officially reopened to kick off the winter skating season,” Governor Cuomo said. “By investing in this renovation, the State has helped to restore this neighborhood gem. I thank the New York Rangers for helping us celebrate the rink’s opening, and I encourage everyone in the area to check out the new facility this season.”
“Riverbank State Park’s ice rink is a rare and much beloved resource in Harlem, and I’m grateful that Governor Cuomo and the members of the State Legislature had the foresight to invest in improvements that will keep the rink open and improve the quality of skating,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “I also thank the New York Rangers for helping the youth of the community stay active through the team’s support for our youth skating and hockey programs.”
Funded by Governor Cuomo’s NY Works initiative, the skating rink recently completed the second phase of a 13-month renovation. Improvements include:
- Refurbishing the rink’s 20-year-old refrigeration system to prevent breakdowns and ensure continued ice-making at the rink;
- Installing new dasher boards and anti-fog glass around the rink;
- Replacing the cracked concrete rink surface, which will provide a smoother skating surface, including for roller skating in warm months; and
- Installing new sun shades at the rink’s southern exposure to protect and prolong the quality of the ice surface.
Complementing these efforts, New York Rangers Assist, supported by Chase Bank, which is part of an expanding list of Rangers “Go Skate!” community initiatives that focus on growing hockey throughout the tri-state, today took part in a variety of activities on the improved rink such as a “Try Hockey for Free” clinic and an exhibition hockey game featuring The New York Rangers. Chase Bank donated $25,000 to the Riverbank State Park Youth Hockey Program to help build a new off-ice training zone, provide portable boards to divide the ice, create a tent to be used as additional locker space, and provide additional youth hockey equipment.
Riverbank State Park’s rink is used by approximately 400,000 people a year for learn-to-skate programs, open skating programs, figure skating, hockey leagues and roller skating. Completed in 1993, Riverbank State Park is a unique 28-acre multi-level landscaped recreational facility rising 69 feet above the Hudson River, located atop a water pollution control plant.
The rink improvements reflect a statewide revitalization of the park system. Under the NY Works program, Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature dedicated $90 million in the 2014-2015 State Budget for State Parks capital improvement projections. This commitment follows the past two years’ NY Works initiative, which allocated $179 million in new capital funds. Together with additional leveraged funds, NY Works has supported a total of $421 million to advance 279 capital improvement projects at 109 parks since 2012, including Riverbank’s outdoor athletic field, track gymnasium and heating system.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
Senator Adriano Espaillat said, “These improvements enhance a great community facility. The ice skating that Northern Manhattan residents have enjoyed for two decades is about to get even better.”
Senator Bill Perkins said, “I commend all those involved in this essential partnership to renovate and improve the beautiful and beloved Ice Rink at Riverbank State Park. The successful completion of this project comes at the most opportune time--with the Holiday Season, winter weather and upcoming school vacations--providing ideal opportunities for our constituents to enjoy the many benefits of the important facility upgrades and exciting opportunities to learn about hockey from members of the New York Rangers.”
Assemblyman Keith Wright said, "As a firm believer in the importance of infrastructure preservation and the NY Works program, I am very proud of all the renovations that this funding has made possible here at Riverbank. This park is a recreational staple for many of Harlem's families and I know the new and improved skating rink will be a big hit. Thanks to the generosity of the New York Rangers hockey team, the youth hockey program is sure to become a favorite this winter season."
Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. said, “I’m happy to have worked to make the ice skating rink better to use and that the improvements will protect the ice from the reflection of the sun and the ice surface has been upgraded so that the community has more time on the rink and more fun in the winter season.”