STAMFORD, Conn. — Central Park in New York City has the Wollman Rink. And soon, Mill Ridge Park in Stamford will boast the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Skating Center and Fountain.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Tuesday at the site, which will be a 10,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink in winter and a 60-nozzle interactive fountain with splash pads in the summer.
For the event, Gov. Dannel Malloy returned to the city where he grew up and where he served as mayor for 14 years.
“This is and will be a world-class park in the middle of a city, which is rare,” said Malloy, a longtime champion of the urban park.
Current Stamford Mayor David Martin also praised the 12-acre park, an area where he said residents were dumping trash 30 years ago.
"The park is a beautiful marker of what you can do and what we will do," said Martin. He vowed to complete the vision of the park — "south to Kosciuszko Park and north to Scalzi Park — and up to New Canaan!"
The downtown park was first proposed nearly 90 years ago as a flood of immigrants came into Stamford.
"The Mill River Park will be a community park in every sense of the word," said Dudley Williams, interim executive director of the Mill River Collaborative. "It will be a masterpiece — a place to play, rest, learn and thrive."
The rink is named for Steven and Alexandra Cohen of Greenwich, who made a $5 million donation for construction of the rink and a warming shelter where skates can be rented. The money will also pay for the fountain and splash pads and be used to fund learn-to-skate lessons for kids.
Steven Cohen is the founder of the Point72 Asset Management hedge fund headquartered in Stamford. The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation made a gift of $50 million to the Museum of Modern Art last month.
Cohen, the second richest man in Connecticut, has a net worth of $13 billion, according to Forbes.
In May, Mill River Park held the grand opening of another new feature — a carousel.
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