Valley Stream seeks new life for hockey rink
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The rink, which is located between Sunrise Highway and the Valley Stream Long Island Rail Road station, was where the village opened its skate park in 2011. Last fall, village officials decided to move the skate park, which features portable equipment, to the concrete area in between the miniature golf course and the pool at Hendrickson Park.
The village is also in discussions with the Valley Stream Baseball League to use the rink for tee ball games. Richard Graves, the league’s treasurer, said he is waiting for approval from the village, but if an agreement is reached, games could be played there this spring.
Graves said the rink would be an ideal spot for the league’s tee ball division, which is made up of mostly 5 year olds, because it’s a contained environment. “When you play tee ball at some of the school fields, the next thing you know you’re looking for your players and they’re in the playground playing,” he said. “Also, they’re picking up rocks, dirt and grass. Here, they could be more focused.”
Graves added that since the adult hockey league wouldn’t start until the summer and the tee ball league is played in the spring, the scheduling would work out nicely. Also, since the bases are approximately 45 feet apart, space wouldn’t be an issue. Graves noted that kids do not slide at that age and there is no risk of balls flying anywhere. “Even if someone clocks a ball good, where’s it going?” he said. “The fences are 18-feet high and these are 4 and 5 year olds.”
There have been rumblings that the rink could be demolished if a league doesn’t move in, in favor of additional parking spaces, but both Barra and Fare said that is not ideal. According to Fare, there are enough commuter spaces by the Long Island Rail Road station already, though some people have to walk a short distance to catch the train depending on where they park.
“If all else fails, you could just add more parking and sell off some of the material,” Barra said, “but we don’t want to do that yet. It was built for roller hockey.”