By Sarina Trangle
Hurricane Sandy hit the Rockaway Roller Hockey Rink with a slapshot, leaving roller hockey players reliant upon a makeshift facility the city is just getting around to replacing.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) allocated $300,000 for improvements to the rink in the 2012 budget. Then Superstorm Sandy hit. The city Parks Department used plywood and fencing to make temporary repairs to the rink, at Beach 109th Street and Shore Front Parkway, so the Rockaway Rockies Hockey League did not need to relocate for the 2013 season.
Meanwhile, Ulrich earmarked another $300,000 for the rink and the mayor’s office directed $300,000 to the project, according to Zachary Feder, a spokesman for Parks.
The $900,000 was enough to finance the construction of a new rink with an asphalt top, dasher boards and fencing. The project also includes the installation of electrical conduits, lights and a score box, as well as new benches, pathways and drinking fountains.
The rink will continue to function as an event space during the non-roller hockey season.
“This will be a state-of-the-art recreational space and is just the latest investment in our commitment to rebuilding a stronger, more resilient Rockaway,” Ulrich said in a statement. “I am looking forward to dropping the first puck.”
Feder said construction is slated to begin in late fall and last up to one year.
Bobby Keane, a board member of the Rockaway Rockies Hockey League, praised Ulrich and Parks for getting athletes and the surrounding community involved in the design process.
“This was a long process and after numerous meetings with the Parks Department and councilman’s office, we are happy to see that our ideas will be incorporated into the final design,” Keane said in a statement. “The new rink will allow us to expand our program and host evening tournaments.”
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at email@example.com.