36° Good Morning
36° Good Morning

Ice rink heats up Bronx renaissance

bronx rink

bronx rink Photo Credit: Mayor's Office

The Bronx skated to a hard-fought victory this week when the City Council voted to transform the hulking Kingsbridge Armory -- empty for the last 17 years -- into a national ice sports center with nine skating rinks and a 5,000-seat hockey arena.

We hope it moves the Bronx renaissance into high gear.

Scheduled to open in 2017, the Kingsbridge National Ice Center will provide the Bronx with a much-needed boost from 267 permanent jobs and 890 construction jobs. It's also projected to attract more than 2 million visitors a year.

In a borough where 30 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line -- the highest rate of any urban county in the nation -- the new jobs will make a discernible difference.

Beyond that, the deal also comes with the promise of a $470,000 fund from developers to support nearby small businesses and address traffic problems.

But the great hope is that the facility, known as KNIC, will galvanize development beyond Kingsbridge and help boost the borough as a tourist draw.

Situated in the middle of the largest regional economy in America, the Bronx is home to Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.

At the same time, a Major League Soccer franchise -- the New York City Football Club -- is reportedly close to an agreement on building a 28,000-seat stadium just south of Yankee Stadium. If it happens, the deal could intensify the impact of the Kingsbridge development.

We're talking sports mecca.

The borough has been moving ahead smartly for years -- with the addition of 240,000 residents since 1980 and 100,000 units of new housing since 1988.

And today Metro-North is contemplating the creation of new service up the east side of the Bronx, from Penn Station to Hunts Point to Parkchester to Morris Park and Co-op City. That could be a game-changer.

Put all of these developments into motion at once -- and suddenly -- the term Bronx cheer could mean a real cheer.

News photos & videos