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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2015 Archives > March 2015 > MLK Ice Rink Breaks Attendance Records

MLK Ice Rink Breaks Attendance Records


Rink closes for the season

March 12, 2015 -- Thanks to Mother Nature, skaters of all ages enjoyed old-fashioned pond skating free of charge this winter at the MLK Jr. Park Ice Rink, a designated BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Zone. In fact, attendance topped the rink's first season by more than 360%.

"It was a wonderful season of skating at Martin Luther King Jr. Park," said Mayor Byron Brown.  "The number of people who laced up their skates was off the charts and I'm especially pleased to see that our city's new $4.5 million state-of-the-art all-season water feature at MLK Park is becoming a regional attraction. I thank Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and
BlueCross Blue Shield of WNY for their partnership."

Mayor Brown and BlueCross BlueShield of WNY president and CEO Dave Anderson opened the rink for its second season on January 9, 2015. "The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is proud to see the increase in community skating and support for the ice rink at MLK Jr. Park.  We look forward to warmer weather with the sounds of splashing and laughter," said Stephanie Crockatt, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy's interim executive director.  "We would not be successful without our partners at the City and BCBS-WNY and thank them for helping us grow this into a beautiful, beneficial and active healthy zone year-round."

With warmer temperatures just around the corner, park users will be able to enjoy the basin's reflecting pool this spring and cool off in the splash pad this summer. Complete details regarding park hours of operation can be found on the Conservancy's website at

The basin is part of the city's $4.5 million all-season water attraction that opened as a splash pad during the summer of 2013, and then as a reflecting pool during the spring and fall. Located in the heart of one of Buffalo's historic Olmsted parks, the ice rink is part of a larger plan for the MLK Jr. Park neighborhood that sets the groundwork to attract new residents and business owners who want to live, work and invest in Buffalo.     

MLK, Jr. 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.

About BlueCross BlueShield of WNY
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a division of HealthNow New York Inc., one of New York's leading health care companies that provides access to quality health care and innovative solutions for members throughout upstate New York. Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, the company is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association.

About the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire urban park system that consists of 850 acres of beautifully designed parks, parkways and circles. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is a not-for-profit, membership-based, community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance, and maintain the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks and parkways in the Greater Buffalo area for current and future generations. More than 2.5 million people use Buffalo's historic, award-winning Olmsted Park System annually for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation. The parks were designed by America's first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, more than 145 years ago.  Basic maintenance of the parks has been greatly improved since the 2004 groundbreaking public/private agreement with the City of Buffalo and Erie County. Since that time, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, now partnering with the City of Buffalo, has retained full responsibility for the management and care of these green spaces, which are listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Most recently, the American Planning Association recognized Delaware Park as one of the 2014 Great Places in America.

The Buffalo Olmsted Park System includes: 
Six Parks
Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo, Delaware Park in Delaware/Parkside District, Front Park at the Peace Bridge, Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at Fillmore Avenue, Riverside Park at Niagara and Tonawanda Street, South Park at McKinley Parkway
Seven Parkways
Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln, McKinley, Porter, Red Jacket, and Richmond
Eight Landscaped Circles
Agassiz, Colonial, Ferry, Gates, Soldiers, Symphony, McClellan, and McKinley