The Culver Ice Arena, a facility where the Los Angeles Kings and world class figure skaters Scott Hamilton, Michelle Kwan and Tai Babilonia practiced their respective crafts will close its doors today after 52 years in business.
A tribute to the Winter Olympics was scheduled for 2:15 p.m. at the Culver Ice Arena, 4545 Sepulveda Blvd., where 64 skaters -- from age 7 to adults -- were expected to participate.
Organizers of the tribute asked those who plan to be attendance to sign a petition to save the arena. More than 6,400 people have signed an online petition to save the arena, organizers said.
“There is still hope to re-open it if the Culver City Planning Commission and city commissioners step up,” organizers said. “This closure will put 50 people out of work and may end many careers, some of whom have worked at the ice rink for 40 years.”
John Jackson, who owns the skating business, told The Los Angeles Times that he was unable to negotiate a lease renewal. Shannon Takahashi, who runs the rink's skating school and youth hockey program, told The Times that the property owner, Mike A. Karagozian, asked $68,000 a month in rent, nearly double what Jackson has been paying.
Planet Granite, a Bay Area-based company, has agreed to take over the facility and operate a rock-climbing, yoga and fitness center, the newspaper reported.
The Times reported that the Los Angeles Kings and AEG, the team's owner, sought to take over the rink and continue operating it as a public venue figure skating and hockey.
“We were involved in the bidding process, but we unfortunately weren't the highest bidder,” Michael Altieri, a team spokesman, told the newspaper.
--City News Service