Save the Lasker Pool and Ice Rinks in Central Park!

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Preserve Lasker Pool in Central Park!  Save the Second Ice Rink at Lasker!

The Lasker Pool and Ice Rinks Complex located at the northern end of Central Park is slated to undergo demolition and replacement with a markedly smaller facility beginning in the spring of 2021.  Its design, by the Central Park Conservancy, is estimated to take three years to complete at a cost of $150 million, $50 million of which will be tax-payer funded.

While a renovation of the nearly 60-year-old facility is much needed, there are serious concerns with the proposed design:

For SWIMMERS:  The new design will be considerably smaller -- 74% of the size of the current facility. The public pool will be unable to accommodate the same number of swimmers as it does now, even as the population of the surrounding neighborhood is growing and the summers are getting hotter.  In addition, the wading pool for babies, toddlers, and non-swimmers will be removed, leaving families without a safe place for their young children to learn water safety or to play in shallow water.

For SKATERS:  Because of the 26% reduction in pool size, the surface of the ice will be cut from two rinks to just ONE.  This will effectively eliminate many ice hockey programs hosted at Lasker that currently serve our community.  Hockey leagues playing there now include more than 50 youth teams serving over 1,000 kids and 6 adult divisions of another 500-600 players.  The youth travel hockey program currently hosts games at Lasker for teams from communities across NYC and the Tri-State Area.  These visiting teams would no longer be invited to play in Central Park.  In addition to the figure skating school, the home hockey teams that may be adversely affected from the downsizing include the North Stars hockey program for players with special needs and the only all-female hockey league in New York.

Any plan that downsizes the ice skating facilities at Lasker will penalize all of the Central Park ice hockey players, their opponents, and their fans. The only two other locations for competitive ice hockey in Manhattan -- Chelsea Piers and Riverbank State Park -- are currently operating at or near full capacity with no plans to expand once Lasker closes.  Removing the ice hockey location at Lasker in Central Park slashes ice hockey and ice skating as affordable recreational amenities for present and future generations to enjoy in New York City’s most well-known park.

We urge the New York City Parks Department, the New York City Council, and Mayor DeBlasio to ensure that the proposed Lasker pool design is revised to equal or enlarge the current footprint so that it can accommodate more swimmers and maintain TWO ice rinks for our community.