ATLANTIC CITY — Parents and skaters are trying to save the Skate Zone from closing and would like the city to buy it.
The Bader Field field facility was built by the Philadelphia Flyers and Comcast and was owned by the CRDA in the late 90s. Black Bear Sports Group took over the operation in September 2020.
The NHL-sized rink is used by the Stockton University men’s hockey team, the Atlantic City Figure Skating Club, high school teams from Mainland and Egg Harbor Township, a men’s league and the Atlantic City Sharks youth hockey program.
97.3 ESPN South Jersey reports that Black Bear would like to sign a long-term lease agreement to make repairs and renovations to the 23-year-old facility but the CRDA won’t offer more than a year-to-year lease.
“We regret to inform you that the Atlantic City Skate Zone LLC has not been offered the opportunity to renew a long-term lease with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, owner of the Skate Zone building,” General Manager Jared Siganuk said in a statement to 97.3 ESPN South Jersey.
“As a result, we will be vacating the rink on March 7th, 2022 and to the best of our knowledge, it will be closing at that time.”
Long term vs. short term lease
Skate Zone Operations Manager Steve Bergeron told the Press of Atlantic City that an estimated $300,000 is needed to make repairs. The biggest repair needed is to what makes all else possible: the machine that makes the ice. It leaks freon and its legs have corroded to point of possible collapse.
The Sharks program has an online petition in hopes of getting the CRDA to agree to a longer lease or the city to step in. If the rink were to close the petition says the nearest rink is an hour away.
Siganuk and the CRDA on Wednesday afternoon did not respond to New Jersey 101.5’s request for more information.
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