Lakeside Center skates on thicker ice - More money allocated to make Prospect PK project a reality

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About $35 million in the can and another $40 million or so to go before work can begin on Prospect Park’s proposed 26-acre Lakeside Center.

Mayor Bloomberg and philanthropist Shelby White announced last week that her Leon Levy Foundation is awarding $10 million toward the ice skating/roller skating rink and landscape project.

The award was part of a larger $25 million award, with the other $15 million going to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

“The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and Prospect Park in Brooklyn are two of our city’s greatest green treasures,” said White, founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation. “Both are particularly meaningful to me: I played in Prospect Park as a child growing up in Brooklyn, and I have served as a board member of the New York Botanical Garden for many years.”

The $10 million grant, the largest ever received by Prospect Park, will go toward the demolition of the Wollman Rink, which is the first step toward bringing back the area’s native trees, shrubs and scenic aquatics.

The project calls for two new rinks to be built nearby where there is currently a parking lot.

A new parking lot will be built in the nearby concert grove.

In addition, the project calls for the rebuilding of Music Island, once located at the site of Wollman Rink, and will include a natural habitat sanctuary and pedestrian viewing paths restored along the lake edge.

Upon completion, much of the Lakeside Center project will be restored to the original design of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

The site is on the Flatbush side of Prospect Park between the Lincoln and Parkside Roads entrance.

Thus far, the $75 million project has also received a $25 million commitment from the city.

Additionally, the Independence Community Foundation has donated $1.5 million toward the new skating facility.

Overseeing the project is the nonprofit Prospect Park Alliance and the city Parks Department.

Prospect Park Alliance spokesperson Eugene Patron said work is expected to start in 2010 after all the money is raised.

“Right now, we’re about at the halfway point in the mid $30’s [million]. Until all the money is secured, we can’t start the project,” said Patron.

The alliance has already tapped their in-house landscape architect Christian Zimmerman to do the landscaping design.

The architectural firm of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects LLP has been selected to design the new building and ice rinks.

Updated 3:46 pm, October 19, 2011
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