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Central Park Lasker pool and rink redesign vote postponed once again

Manhattan residents are concerned about the fate of Lasker Pool and skating rink under a Central Park Conservancy proposal. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The city’s Public Design Commission postponed a vote again on a preliminary redesign for Central Park’s Lasker pool and rink. Out of the agency’s ten commissioners, only five showed up to the meeting. In order for the PDC to move forward or shelve any potential designs, at least six commissioners must be present at a meeting.

Some Lasker users showed up to the meeting in the hopes of convincing the commission to reconsider the size of the pool and rink, arguing that in a neighborhood with limited sports facilities, size matters.  

Manhattan residents are concerned about the fate of Lasker Pool and skating rink under a Central Park Conservancy proposal. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

“This is a city-wide battle over recreational space,” said Cressida Connolly, a parent present at the meeting.” We went through this with Gansevoort Peninsula with Hudson Trust … so we have to push back at every point of contact.”

Today’s rescheduling marks the second time the PDC has postponed the vote which was originally scheduled for Jan. 21. But the agency failed to meet its six-person quorum. 

In 2018, the city and Central Park Conservancy, the agency in charge of the park’s maintenance, announced that the 50-year-old pool and rink would get $150 million worth of renovations. Renderings released by the conservancy earlier this year show drastic changes to the northern part of the park. Besides a smaller rink and pool, the design calls for the creation of a boardwalk on top of a series of small islands and freshwater marsh close to the Harlem Meer. 

Manhattan residents are concerned about the fate of Lasker Pool and skating rink under a Central Park Conservancy proposal. Here, members of the Public Design Commission listen to their concerns. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

But the conservancy argues that smaller pool and rink are all the section of the park can handle adding that the “drastically out of scale” facility has caused problems for the greenspace. 

“It was built on top of a watercourse—a disastrous miscalculation that has caused chronic flooding of the site and impacted the facility from the beginning, ” a statement from the conservancy says. “The new facility will continue to support a robust swimming, skating and hockey program.”

Construction on the new facility is set to start some time next year. 

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