Press Releases

‘WINTER BLAST’ Grand Opening Celebration at MLK, Jr. Park Ice Rink

By January 17, 2015 April 14th, 2015 No Comments

WHEN:  Saturday, January 17, 2015
VIDEO/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY at 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

WHERE:  Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK, Jr.) Park Ice Rink
Best Street & Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo, NY
Click here for Google map


WHAT:  ‘Winter Blast’ Grand Opening Celebration of the ice rink at MLK, Jr. Park will include local figure skater Lindsay Naab, FREE old-fashioned pond skating (weather dependent), hockey and figure ice skates available in a variety of sizes FREE of charge, ice skating clinic with Mr. Larry, family fun winter activities, face painting, hot cocoa and healthy snacks. ‘Winter Blast’ is brought to you by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and is free and open to the public.

Mayor Byron W. Brown thanked Mother Nature for the subfreezing temperatures and opened  the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park Ice Rink on Friday, January 9, 2015.

“It’s great to see so many city residents and visitors enjoy the ice rink at MLK, Jr. Park – one of our city’s newest outdoor winter destinations,” said Mayor Brown of the record breaking attendance at the rink which opened for the season last week. “This is a great example of a successful public/private partnership between the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the generous support from our friends at BlueCross BlueShield of WNY.”

This Saturday, January 17, 2015, will mark the official grand opening celebration of the MLK, Jr. Park Ice Rink, a designated BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Zone. ‘Winter Blast’ is brought to you by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY (BCBS) and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and  will run from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.

“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.”

‘Winter Blast’ healthy activities will include old-fashioned pond skating which will be weather dependent. Additional activities will include the BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Zone Cruiser, a snowman making zone, a snow fort making zone, a snow dodge ball zone as well as face painting for the children, hot cocoa and healthy snacks. The family fun activities will be free and open to the public.

“We have many partners to thank in making this historic ice skating feature what it is, especially Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo for their vital contributions,” said Stephanie Crockatt, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s interim executive director.  “And we must thank BlueCross BlueShield of WNY for their exceptional on-going support for this healthy winter space in the community, and now thanks to them and the Buffalo Sabres Foundation a collection of more than 400 skates is available in a variety of sizes for skaters to lace up and enjoy free of charge.”

Weather permitting, regular ice rink hours will be from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday.  It will be open both Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5:30 PM. Skating will be weather dependent, for ice rink conditions, call 838-1249 ext. 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 $4.5 million all-season water attraction that opened as a Splash Pad during the summer of 2013, and then 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

###