City Council "Powerless" in Saving Culver City Ice Rink

The Culver Ice Arena is expected to close Feb. 2, after 52 years of operation.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Culver Ice Arena supporters rally and chant "Save Culver Ice!" before attending a Culver City council meeting on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.

    Culver Ice Arena is scheduled to shut its doors on Feb. 2 after 52 years in operation, despite one group’s efforts to "Save Culver Ice."

    Ice skaters, hockey players, parents and children gathered at the Culver City council meeting Monday night to ask for the city’s support in stopping the closure of the ice rink, but council members said they are "powerless" in the situation because it is private issue between a property owner and a lessee.

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    "My daughter has skated there since 2005 and she skates six days a week," said Anne Finestone. "We are very worried about our community kids not having a place to go. Friday nights, Saturday nights, after school during the day."

    Rent has almost doubled on the property, and as a result, the Fresno-based land owners have signed a new lease agreement with Bay Area-based Planet Granite, who is expected to build a rock climbing and fitness center on the property.

    "This is a community that has always changed, always adapted, and in this particular circumstance, as much as we would like to preserve the ice rink as a recreational amenity and a recreational asset to the community, there’s not a lot that we can do right now," Councilman Andrew Weissman said.

    The Save Culver Ice online petition had generated more than 11,000 signatures in support of the cause as of Monday night. The Facebook page also has more than 7,700 likes.

    Dozens of supporters marched with signs and chanted "Save Culver Ice!" outside City Hall before Monday’s council meeting.

    "It means so much more than ice skating, its community," supporter Susy Porter said.

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    Some of the children at the rally told NBC4 that the ice rink was like a second home.

    "It means everything to me, it’s been my home for 9.5 years. I met friends who become like family to me, and it’s just been amazing having that experience. It will never be the same," teenager Melissa Rosales said. Melissa added that she hopes to one day go on tour with Disney on Ice.

    In addition to being a recreational space, the Culver Ice Arena has been a practice space to athletes like Michelle Kwan and Wayne Gretzky over the years.

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