On Sunday, Councilman Fernando Cabrera was ready to vote ‘no’ on a massive remake of the landmark Kingsbridge Armory, 20 years after it was left empty by the state-controlled National Guard. It’s the biggest, professional ice-skating set-up in the universe.
But Cabrera will be voting ‘yes’ later today following what he says was a successful all-day discussion with Bloomberg reps. (A subcommittee voted 6-0 earlier today, the Land Use Committee just voted 18-1 with only Brooklyn councilman Charles Barron voting against it.
“Nine skating rinks? That’s an overdose of ice-skating,” Barron said, pointing out that he wanted more mixed-use development. “I just wanted to be the voice of people feel they didn’t have a voice in it.”
While it won’t change the official Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) — Cabrera acknowledged this — the Kingsbridge National Ice Center is giving $250,000 to the city’s Economic Development Corporation for traffic mitigation.
Cabrera said there was going to be too much traffic but KNIC will spend $25,000 “to do an incentive and information campaign to encourage people to use mass transit.”
He said another $150,000 will be allotted to SBS (Small Business Services) to help local stores.
“The look of Kingsbridge Road will have a theme that will resemble the whole ice skating facility,” he said. “Wouldn’t that be great?”
He added that there would be free legal services for businesses, the focus of which is in writing he said.
Finally, he said Bronx Museum of the Arts will organize an art contest for kids with $9,000 allocated to them through KNIC.
“This is another bonus I was able to get into our community because it’s all about the community,” he said.
A consultant for the ice center confirmed the outlines of the deal.
So, is Cabrera happy with what came in after his holdout?
“I am content,” he said. “The issues I brought up — they were satisfied.”
He added: “It’s moved from a good project to a great project.”