NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Bronx could soon have a place for lovers of all things ice.
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New York Rangers legend Mark Messier and Olympic gold medalist figure skater Sarah Hughes of Long Island have big dreams for the Kingsbridge Armony, which is currently a vacant fortress.
“It’s going to be an incredible facility and an integral part of the lives of children who come here. It’s going to help them become better athletes and better students,” Hughes told reporters on Thursday.
The plan is for it to house nine regulation-size skating rinks and seating for 5,000 people.
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“It’s not that if we build nine rinks, kids are going to go ‘Aww. I’m not going to come and play. This place is going to be filled up with kids,” developer Kevin Parker said.
The plan also includes a youth skating initiative run by Messier.
“Youth sports was designed for the mental and physial well-being of our children and I think that’s what this provides our kids here in the Bronx,” Messier said. “Working together, working towards common a goal, being responsible. Those are things that hockey really teach kids.”
The Kingsbridge Armory National Ice Center, as it would be known, received the backing of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. who opposed plans for a mall there.
Other proposals for the site that have come and gone included a community center and a housing complex.
“Here we have a commitment that every single job will pay a living wage. We’re going to have 1,800 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs,” Dias said. “This can be another area where we can open our doors and invite people… to come and take another look, a new look, at the new Bronx.”
Diaz said he doesn’t think skating will be a hard sell for kids in the Bronx, who primarily play baseball and soccer.
“There’s a known knowledge that says ‘You build it and they will come,'” he said.
The plan still requires the backing of city officials.
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