VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Change is in the works for Westchester County.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, plans were announced on Tuesday for a new recreation area. At the foot of the Kensico Dam in Valhalla, county Executive Rob Astorino announced plans to turn the site into a Bryant Park or Rockefeller Center for Westchester County.
What began as plans to rebuild the giant reflecting pool at the site has morphed into a plan for an ambitious skating complex.
“Two rinks — one would be a regulation size hockey rink, 200 by 85. Then on the outside, you would have two circular areas for skating and two tracks – it’s 30 feet wide, each lane 15 feet, each direction,” Astorino said.
It’s difficult to convey the power of the place that one feels in person. The dam holds back 30 billion gallons of New York City drinking water, and the space in front of it has been empty for 10 years.
Many people think that is a waste.
The price tag, though, is substantial – $25 million in total. Some of it is already in hand, but much of it needs the approval of county legislators.
There are 17 legislators in total, and only two showed up at Astorino’s announcement.
“We’ll have to see,” said county Legislator Francis Corcoran (R-Bedford). “We’ll have to go through the numbers; look at the revenues, but on the surface it seems to make sense.”
Opponents of the county’s plan to privatize Playland amusement park in Rye, and pave over its public school, are already getting ready to horse trade. Budget talks start next week.
A visiting New York Ranger, though, admired the design and vouched for its appeal to skaters.
“I would’ve loved this as a young kid, coming here with my friends to just trying to race around,” said Michael Grabner of the New York Rangers.
The design turns the space back into a reflecting pool with nine fountains for the warm weather months.