Brooklyn’s Prospect Park will soon receive a refurbished Lakeside Center, with help from a $10 million donation to the Prospect Park Alliance and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The LeFrak family, real estate royalty within the borough and in the Tri-state area, has gifted the sum in support of the oft-delayed green space revamp, which finally set a completion date for December of this year. In the heart of Prospect Park’s 526-acre grounds, project restoration by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and construction company Sciame will redevelop the Wollman Ice Rink for use during all four seasons. This lakeside facility is to be renamed The Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center, honoring the family’s philanthropy in Brooklyn.
After a series of construction schedule setbacks over the past few years, Prospect Park is on track for its grand re-opening. In phase one, finished last year, the project improved its landscaped grounds, some to the original mid-nineteenth century designs by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
Now, Tod Williams Billie Tsien will focus on the built structures. The firm plans to replace the original ice rink with a parking lot for greater park accessibility. A new lakeside Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center will offer year-round activities: winter ice-skating and hockey, summer roller-skating, and a water feature with wading pool for children. The architects says the center will maintain a low profile and low consumption, “nestled into the landscape” planned by Olmsted and Vaux.
Overall, project costs total $74 million. With the LeFrak family donation, the renovated Prospect Park is scheduled to reopen in the next few weeks.