BUFFALO, NY - The weather appears just right for ice skating in Buffalo, but not at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Olmsted Conservancy officials guarantee that ice skating will happen in the park when the weather conditions are right.
Thomas Herrera-Mischler heads the Buffalo Olmsted Conservancy. He said "as soon as the ice is safe, I want to really emphasize, this is pond skating. This is not like down at Rotary Rink, or other places with perfect skating conditions. This is a pond. So we are completely dependent on weather conditions." There has to be at least ten days of sub-freezing temperatures in a row to get the ice thick enough for skating.
The basin is a splash pad in the summer, in the winter it is to be transformed into an ice skating rink. 2 On Your Side asked Buffalo Common Councilman Demone Smith about the winter activity in his district and he said, "I doubt it, I doubt it seeing ice skating this winter." Smith says an organized program for ice skating is needed and it will be housed out of the casino in the park. The casino will also be the location for skate rentals and concessions.
The city of Buffalo's amended 2014-2018 capital budget has money earmarked for the MLK Casino Exterior Renovation and Accessibility Retrofit-Leverage Design. $500,000 is allocated for 2014 and $211,500 for 2015.
While, Smith does not think there will be ice skating at MLK Park this winter season, the deputy public works commissioner for the city of Buffalo, Andrew Rabb sent an email saying, "Operationally we had been planning on a start to ice skating in early January, weather dependent. Given our recent cold spell we began looking into moving that date up. However, with the warm temperatures coming Thursday and through this weekend, we will be evaluating conditions day by day."
Michael DeGeorge, a spokesperson for the city of Buffalo, told 2 On Your Side after the story aired with the Councilman's comments that the city maintains, "there will be ice skating at MLK Park" this season.
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is holding a Good Neighbor Skate drop off December 27-29.
Used ice skates can be dropped off at BlueCross BlueShield on Friday, December 27, 7:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.; Saturday December 28, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. at Pure Hockey, 3625 Sheridan Drive, Amherst and on Sunday, December 29 3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. at First Niagara Center.