Ariana Lubelli Mar 31, 2017, 10:40 pmApr 1, 2017, 6:34 am

Plans for construction of ice rink at Valhalla’s Kensico Dam gets the axe

Democratic legislators opposing plan say there is not enough money in the budget to finance project

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Westchester Executive Robert Astorino had big ideas for a 720-foot long pit in the county's Kensico Dam.

In October, he announced a $4.2 million proposal to build an ice skating rink that he believed would boost tourism, create jobs and bring revenue into the county. But the plan met with complaints from Democratic leaders who say the money to build this luxury rink is simply not in the budget.

Democratic Legislator Catherine Borgia says there are more important items in the county that need funding, adding that vital county departments are struggling.

"We really doubt that there is extra money in this budget to fund even the debt service for an ice skating rink when we can't fund our police department, for example, we can't have the correct number of public safety officers out on the street protecting people in our parks," Borgia says.

Local legislators who supported the plan say the objections come as a surprise.

"I'm disappointed that our colleagues represented one thing in meetings and we thought we were in agreement and then without any warning, without any pre-notion to come out and just be so negative against the project," says John Testa of the County Board of Legislators

"The Democrats have said that they are not going to support it, which is a shame because it was an opportunity once in, really, a generation opportunity to do what we thought would be world-class rink that would attract people from all over the place at our number one location in Westchester," County Executive Astorino says.

The rinks were part of a larger proposal to re-do the county-owned plaza in Valhalla. $6 million has already been approved for repair work on the reflecting pools and fountains at the base of the dam and that work will proceed.

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