State waiting for cold to make ice at Plaza rink
ALBANY The state is waiting for right conditions to make ice for its rink at the Empire State Plaza.
Heather Groll of the state Office of General Services said workers are now in the process of constructing the rink on the plaza. Once the conditions are right to make ice, then they can go ahead with plans to open the rink to public skating.
The rink returned last winter on New Years Day of 2012. Prior to that, there had been no skating on the plaza since 2007, when the state discontinued the practice to save money. That recent hiatus was the first time the tradition had been stopped in decades, except for a five-year period during a budget crunch in the early 1990s.
The ice rink originally opened in 1976 with a three-day event that attracted more than 60,000 people. The festivities included fireworks, the dedication of the rink and a tree lighting.
The recent closure of the rink was estimated to save about $150,000 in staffing and other costs per year.
Last year’s return was underwritten by $100,000 from the Lake Placid Regional Winter Sports Committee, a 501(c)(3) corporation that partnered with the state Office of General Services and Olympic Regional Development Authority .
Groll said this season will include feature Free Skate Rental Fridays, courtesy of Hannaford Supermarkets, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., the rink’s operating hours.
Additionally, Groll noted, BlueShield of Northeastern New York will fund free skate clinics from 2 to 4 p.m. the first Saturday of every month. Skate rentals will be free for participants.
Skating is free to the public and traditionally the rink is open every day of the week.