City eyes Central Park pool for ice skating – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY — The city is considering whether to allow ice skating at the Central Park pool.

While details are still being worked out and it’s unclear if the city will be able to move forward with the idea, crews began clearing snow from the pool on Tuesday. to examine the ice that has built up from melting snow and recent rainstorms.

“We’re just exploring — and I’m going to stress exploration because nothing’s definitive — whether or not we can use this pool as an ice rink for kids or adults,” said General Service Commissioner Paul LaFond.

LaFond said he suggested the idea to Mayor Gary McCarthy as a way to bring skating back to the park, which has been spotty in recent years due to warmer winters that kept nearby Lake Iroquois from freezing.

The pool is shallower, which means less water will have to freeze before skaters can start using the rink. As of Tuesday morning, the ice on the bottom of the pool was between 8 and 10 inches thick, LaFond said.

Still, he stressed that key details need to be ironed out before moving forward, including whether fresh water can be delivered to the pool, which is needed to create a smooth ice sheet after workouts. skating.

It’s also unclear how the water would freeze and whether those conditions would allow skating, LaFond said.

“Obviously it’s Mother Nature, so the ice isn’t smooth. It’s not like a Zamboni is going through this,” he said of the current conditions.

McCarthy also pointed out that the city was only exploring the idea, adding that public safety and regulatory issues had yet to be explored and would need to be resolved before anyone was allowed to skate at the pool. .

“We’re still going through what we’re going to do, what we’re not going to do, and what the safety factors are,” he said.

The pool has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after plans were unveiled last year to replace the 56,000-square-foot facility that no longer meets state Department of Health standards with a new facility in the area of ​​the nearby vacant tennis stadium.

On Monday, the city council approved a $450,000 contract with Saratoga Associates, a design firm, to draft plans for a new swimming pool, bathhouse, lighted pathways connecting nearby park amenities and parking. The project is expected to cost more than $3 million, which would be paid for using federal funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

McCarthy said it’s unclear what will happen with the current pool once the new facility opens, but noted those plans will be developed as the design progresses in the coming months.

Asked about a potential timeline for allowing ice skating in the pool, McCarthy said that also remains unclear.

“You tell me what the constant temperature will be and I’ll tell you what we do consistently,” he said. “If it’s frozen, we’ll go ice skating. If not, I can’t plow and I can’t allow people to go on thin ice.

Contact journalist Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.

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