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The Don and the Central Park Ice Skating Rink

This is an excerpt from the WikiPage on The Wollman Rink

Renovation: 1980–1986

In 1974, the New York City Parks and Recreation Department started planning a renovation of the rink, including switching the refrigeration system from brinewater to liquid Freon to lower the operation costs at a time of rising fuel costs.  In January 1975, a $4 million plan to renovate Wollman Rink at the park’s southeastern corner was announced.By late 1975, the Central Park Task Force, an agency of NYC Parks, released a revised plan to dredge the Pond and redesign the landscaping in the park’s southeastern corner for $2.5 million. All plans were deferred due to the 1975 New York City fiscal crisis.

The rink had to be closed in the winter of 1980 when its concrete floor buckled; at that time, the renovation was estimated to cost up to $4.9 million and take two years. Due to the necessity of soliciting bids for three separate contracts and a series of planning errors, construction mishaps, and flooding caused by heavy rains, the renovations had not been completed by May 1986 when the city decided to use brinewater in plastic pipes. By that time, $12.9 million had been spent, with an additional $2 to $3 million estimated to complete the work by the winter of 1987.

Donald Trump then offered mayor Ed Koch to rebuild Wollman Rink at his expense within six months, in return for the leases to operate the rink and an adjacent restaurant to recoup his costs. The final agreement was that the city would reimburse Trump for the costs up to the agreed limit and that he would donate the profits of rink and restaurant to charity and public works. Trump asked his contractors, among them HRH Construction, to also do the work without making a profit, promising them publicity but not mentioning their contributions to the press afterwards. The work was completed two months ahead of schedule and $750,000 under the estimated costs. As part of the agreement to keep operating Wollman Rink, Trump agreed to also take a concession for the Lasker Rink as well, and the Trump Organization won concessions for the rinks in 1987.

Skating rink operation: 1986–present

When the rink reopened in November 1986, ticket prices were raised from $2.50 to $4.50, and attendance was up from 130,000 in 1980 to 250,000 in 1987. As part of its agreement with the city, the Trump Organization donated most of the profit to public works, including $50,000 for the rink’s electricity costs, and to charity, among them United Cerebral Palsy, Partnership for the Homeless, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

The Trump Organization held the concession until 1995. Its subsidiary Wollman Rink Operations LLC won another contract in 2001 to operate the rink through April 30, 2021.Wollman Rink Operations LLC is owned by DJT Holdings LLC which is owned by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust for the duration of Trump’s presidency. In 2019, Trump’s name was removed from most signs and logos at both Wollman and Lasker Rinks.

For the complete story, access the Wiki information here.

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