Operator will set agenda for new rink at Vannie


Scant details emerging about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to build an ice-skating rink in Van Cortlantd Park have left community members with more questions than answers.

How much space will the rink take up? How much will the tickets cost? Will there be free lessons or other benefits for members of the community? What about the hours of operation? Will there be parking? Will the ice be synthetic or real? What about security?

Davita Mabourakh, Project Manager of the Revenue Division at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, presented the project — first announced by Mr. Bloomberg during his State of the City speech — at Community Board 8’s Parks & Recreations Committee meeting on Feb. 23. She discussed the Request for Proposal (RFP) process to choose an operator to build a skating rink on four unused tennis courts near Broadway and West 242nd Street.

The chosen company will sign a 15-year contract for a rink, which will operate between October and March. The company will also have to come up with ideas for food service, lockers and rates, she said of the joint project between the Parks Department and the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy.

In an interview after the meeting, Tony Cassino, chair of the Conservancy, said details of the plan will be decided by the chosen bidder and that “we are asking the community to give us input.”

Mr. Cassino said the rink will be built on four tennis courts, “a little bit of property around it” and two handball courts. The size of the rink will be decided by the selected bidder, but the space is big enough to fit a 16,000 square-foot rink, he said.

“That’s the only thing that we really do have,” said Mr. Cassino referring to the size of the space. “People like to expect drawings, there are no drawings, because the drawings are going to be provided by the people who bid.”

But Bob Bender, chair of CB 8’s Parks & Recreations Committee, said more information was necessary before the board could provide input to Conservancy and Parks Department officials.

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