With less than a day before the San Diego City Council decides the fate of Skateworld in Linda Vista, loyal customers rallied for the city’s last remaining wooden roller rink.
A rally was held Sunday at Morley Green across from Skateworld, with supporters skating up and down the street with signs saying “SAVE SKATEWORLD” and “PEACE LOVE SKATE.”
“People are passionate about this skating rink. We’re the last remaining roller rink in the City of San Diego,” Skateworld operator Brett Stang said. “When I first opened up Skateworld, there were some 10 roller skating rinks in San Diego, and slowly and surely they’ve gone away -- not because people don’t skate, it’s just because retailers and box stores and various kinds of businesses have taken the properties.”
That’s what Stang fears – a big-box store replacing his roller rink. The San Diego City Council will decide Monday at 2 p.m. whether to sell the property to a developer.
“We give back to the community, and this is a very important – a very, very important – assets to the people of San Diego being the last roller skate (arena),” Stang said.
Stang claimed his business brings people from all over the county, which provides traffic for nearby stores, and he said if Skateworld goes, a lot of that business may go too. Skateworld also interacts with local non-profits, schools, sororities, and fraternities, Stang said.
“We’re an institution in this community, and we give back an awful lot, and people don’t want this to go away,” Stang said.
Stang said the most startling part of the City Attorney's analysis of the property is the announcement of the potentially winning bid submitted by Pacifica Development.
“$5.43 million? That's the winning bid? Awe man you are going to tell me I lost by just a couple thousand? Get outta here," Stang told NBC 7 last week.
Stang said he would be willing to not only match the winning offer but add $5,000 more on top of it.
“Slowly but surely, we’re losing our identity and our quality of life if we just look at the highest price, the highest bid and forget what the community needs and the community wants are,” he said.
Another rally is planned Monday outside City Hall at 1:15 p.m., before the San Diego City Council votes on Skateworld’s future.
More than 19,000 people signed a petition urging them to save Skateworld.
Skateworld’s building was created in 1941 during World War II and was dedicated by then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. At the time, it was an entertainment and recreational center for military personnel in the area, Stang said.