Costs soaring for Prospect Park rink

The Brooklyn Paper
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The cost of the much-hyped redesign of Prospect Park’s skating rink has soared to $75 million from $60 million just a month ago — and the project has been pushed back a few more months.

The so-called “Lakeside Center” would replace the Wollman Ice Rink with two facilities for ice- and roller-skating, concerts and educational programs, as well as restoring some of the parking lot to its original Olmsted and Vaux design.

The center was originally set to cost $50 million when it was unveiled last year — and work was set to start in 2009.

Now construction is supposed to begin in 2010.

Even though the price has jumped twice and the project has been delayed, the Prospect Park Alliance said there was no cause for alarm.

“The project has been evolving over a number of years,” said Eugene Patron, a spokesman for the group that oversees the park. “There’s no one thing that’s driven up cost.”

The Bloomberg administration, the borough president’s office and the City Council have allocated $22 million for the project, but the Alliance says it will ask each entity for $2 million more to help defray the escalating price. The Alliance will aim to get the rest from private donations (last month, the Independence Community Foundation ponied up $1.5 million).

Laura Sinagra, a spokeswoman for Borough President Markowitz, said the Beep has not been briefed on the new cost of the center, which was first reported by the Daily News.

“Obviously, we’re excited about the plan and want to help, but that stuff hasn’t been decided yet about budgeting,” she said.

But the money will be well worth it, according to Parks Department officials.

“This will be the greatest recreation facility in Brooklyn when it’s finished,” said Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

If the park sticks to its current schedule, Wollman rink, the beloved but dilapidated venue built in 1961, would be replaced by the gleaming new “Lakeside Center” by 2011.

“If Prospect Park is the heart of Brooklyn, then the heart of Prospect Park is made of ice,” said Borough President Markowitz at a ceremony last month to accept the Independence Community Foundation check.

Updated 5:06 pm, July 9, 2018
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