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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2015 Archives > January 2015 > Ice Skating At MLK Jr. Park

Ice Skating At MLK Jr. Park


MAYOR BROWN, BUFFALO OLMSTED PARKS CONSERVANCY, BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD WELCOME WINTER WITH THE RETURN OF ICE SKATING AT MLK JR. PARK
Free ice skating returns at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park this weekend!

January 9, 2015 – Buffalo skaters, enjoy!  That was Mayor Byron Brown’s message to city residents when he, along with Stephanie Crockatt, Interim Executive Director of Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and BlueCross BlueShield of WNY President and CEO David Anderson announced the kick-off to the return of free ice skating at MLK Jr. Park this weekend.  The recent blast of subfreezing temperatures in Buffalo was just right to thicken the ice for skating, one week before the festive January 17th grand opening celebration of another great season of ice skating at the rink.

“This is an exciting day for all of us because for the second consecutive year there’s free skating at MLK Jr. Park,” said Mayor Brown of the latest recreational use of the city’s new $4.5 million water attraction.  “Today’s opening also serves as yet another great example of a successful public/private partnership.  The City of Buffalo and Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy worked closely, along with the support of BlueCross BlueShield, in collecting over 400 pairs of skates, making this rink the only rink in Buffalo where skaters can lace up loaner skates, free of charge.”

“Thanks to the outstanding partnerships we have with the City of Buffalo and BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, we are excited to open this historic Olmsted park feature with another winter of free skating,” said Stephanie Crockatt, Interim Executive Director of Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. “The Conservancy’s Staff at MLK Jr. Park are doing their utmost to make this a fantastic venue for good old-fashioned pond skating, and welcome the community to take an active and healthy part in this unique outdoor experience.”

“We are pleased to support MLK Jr. Park’s Ice Rink as a BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Zone,” stated Dave Anderson, president and CEO. “We invested here to create and encourage children and adults to stay active through all four seasons, be healthy, and to support one of the City’s greatest assets, Buffalo’s Olmsted Park System.  Thanks to Mayor Brown and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, this partnership will continue to benefit our region’s residents.”    

The ice rink will be open, weather permitting, from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday.  It will be open both Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5:30 PM, weather permitting.  For rink conditions, call 838-1249 ex. 17.  A list of rules, posted at the entrance of the ice rink, includes the following:

  • Everyone must sign in to gain admittance
  • Skate with the flow of skaters
  • Children under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult

The new ice rink is part of the city’s new $4.5 million all-season water attraction that opened as a Splash Pad during the summer of 2013. Located in the heart of one of Buffalo’s historic parks, the ice rink is part of a larger plan for the Olmsted-designed MLK Park neighborhood that sets the groundwork to attract new residents and business owners who want to live, work and invest in Buffalo. 

Other projects, underway or completed since 2006, include:

  • $2.2 million Fillmore Avenue Streetscape Project (completed)
  • $900,000 in Humboldt Parkway improvements (completed)
  • $800,000 MLK Park Shelter House Improvements (completed)
  • $350,000 MLK Park Picnic Shelter (completed)
  • $16 million St. Martin Village Project (completed)
  • $1 million for improvements to MLK Casino (currently underway)

MLK Park Ice Skating History
The present brick casino was constructed between the lily pond and the wading pool in 1926.  In 1956, the first of Buffalo’s refrigerated outdoor artificial ice rinks was constructed on the site of the lily basin.  The lily pool was partly filled and a wading pool was constructed at its eastern end.  The wading pool was partially filled, and transformed into a smaller circular concrete “spray pool”, while its grand dimensions and grassy banks were retained.