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The Daily Plant : Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Major Grant Awarded For Lakeside Center Project

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

The development of Prospect Park's Lakeside Center recently received a big boost, thanks to a major $1.5 million challenge grant from the Independence Community Foundation.

On March 7, Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assembly Member Joan Millman, Prospect Park Alliance Chairman Albert Garner and Prospect Park Alliance President Tupper Thomas to thank the Foundation for its visionary challenge grant at Prospect Park's Kate Wollman Rink. Representing the Independence Community Foundation were Chairman Alan Fishman and Executive Director Marilyn Gelber.

The funding from the Brooklyn based Independence Community Foundation (ICF) will go toward underwriting the design costs for the Park’s planned Lakeside Center: a year-round destination for recreation, events, education programs and visitor amenities, as well as improved access to the Park’s natural and historic landscape.

The centerpiece of the project will be two new, state-of-the-art ice-skating rinks to replace the current rink built in 1961. The new building is being designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects LLP. Major landscape restoration of the Park’s lakeshore and areas adjacent to the project will be designed by Prospect Park Alliance landscape architect Christian Zimmerman and the staff of Alliance’s Design and Construction office.

“ICF is thrilled to be the lead private funder of the Lakeside Center,” said Marilyn Gelber, Executive Director of Independence Community Foundation. “This major grant, one of our largest to date, reflects this Foundation’s strongly held view that Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s great public space, a democratic oasis of calm and green that is welcoming to all. Lakeside is particularly exciting in that it will simultaneously restore Olmsted’s and Vaux’s original park design while creating a state-of-the-art, year-round skating, recreational, and educational facility to better serve Brooklyn and beyond. This grant also serves as an enthusiastic challenge to other foundations and individuals to join ICF in supporting this truly transformational project.”

The Independence Community Foundation’s $1.5 million grant is the first major private grant to the Lakeside Center project. As a Challenge Grant with its 2 to 1 matching requirement, it will also provide significant leverage for raising additional private funds. More than $25 million has been committed to the project by the Office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the City Council and Borough President Markowitz. Federal funding of $1 million for the Lakeside Center, which is estimated to cost more than $60 million, was secured by Congressman Anthony Weiner and former Congressman Major Owens. The Prospect Park Alliance continues to work with our city, state and federal officials, as well as private funders, to raise additional funds for the project.

To celebrate the Independence Community Foundation’s generous grant, the Foundation, the Parks Department and the Prospect Park Alliance invited the public to skate for free all day on March 7. The last day for skating in Prospect Park is March 16 so be sure to come to the rink and lace em up!


“When you play, play hard. When you work, don’t play at all.”

Theodore Roosevelt
(1858 – 1919)

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