Expect the shuttered Jersey City Pershing Field Ice Rink to be a hot topic, once again, at this week’s meeting of city legislators.

Several City Council members were expected to huddle with Lucinda McLaughlin, director of the city department of Recreation and Youth Development, along with representatives of the advisory city Parks Coalition prior to Monday’s caucus to hash out how best to use a $1 million state grant to improve the rink.

“Pershing is an asset our entire community sorely needs,” Saleh said. “That’s why we fully support the public coming to our meetings,” he added, to give their input on how the city should be using the grant.

Faced with a second straight winter of the rink’s closure due to its aging mechanical infrastructure incapable of sustaining a sufficiently cold ice surface that hockey players and casual skaters can safely negotiate, the public’s patience has worn thin and, as frustration has continued to build, “the voices (of disappointed skaters) are starting to hit a crescendo,” Saleh said.

An online petition labeled “Fix Pershing Field Now!” drives home that point, stating that the decades-old ice rink “had known compressor issues but was ignored and now the public is without the once amazing resource – one of the reasons many choose to live here” but now negated by the prospect of having “no ice rink for two full seasons, shortened pool times (at Pershing’s swim facility), a reservoir that has been shut down for years and a park whose only public green spaces with actual grass are worn down ….”

The petition concludes that, “if the current politicians cannot fix these problems while there are public pools, ice rinks and parks across the country running without issue, then perhaps we need leadership that is up to the job at hand.”

Unfortunately, Saleh said, city experts have concluded that the grant money in hand “is not nearly enough” what is needed to remedy all the operating problems associated with the rink which could take up to $5 million. That’s why the city is exploring, with the Parks Coalition, other options such as laying down “another type of ice” or issuing vouchers that city residents can use at other rinks in the region.

But, ultimately, Saleh said, “Years of applying band-aids are not sustainable in the long term.”

Before its shutdown, the rink “was a revenue generator” for the city and could be made so again if it’s given proper attention and resources.

To make that happen, Boggiano said he and his colleagues “have been trying to find additional funds” through outside sources. “The rink should’ve been taken care of properly,” he said. And now, he added, “it’s not just the people in Ward C who are concerned about its closure – residents in Wards D, B and E — all over the city – who are concerned.”

But the city administration needs to be reminded about residents’ frustration with the city’s inaction, Boggiano said.

Agreeing, Saleh said, “It’s absolutely vital (for the public) to reach out because the more light gets shed on this issue, the better for all concerned.”

Boggiano said he anticipates that after Monday’s conference with McLaughlin and Parks Coalition representatives, the council will be presented with a proposal on how to proceed with the rink at the council caucus.

Meanwhile, as for the long-awaited work on a portion of the city Reservoir No. 3 to adapt the Jefferson Avenue bridge as a public walking trail, more delay is anticipated with the city administration asking the council to extend an by 12 months an existing contract with Suburban Consulting Engineers, of Flanders for site/civil engineering services “for revised design, construction documents, construction administration and administrative services.”

Ron Leir has been a journalist since 1972. That includes a 37-year stint as a reporter, copy reader and assistant editor with The Jersey Journal, followed by a decade as a reporter with The Observer in...