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Culver Ice Arena closes after 52 years

The Culver Ice Arena on the 4500 block of Sepulveda Boulevard in Culver City closed Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 after 52 years in business.
February 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
After 52 years, the Culver Ice Arena closed Sunday.

John Jackson, who owns the skating business, says he was unable to negotiate a lease renewal. The property owner allegedly nearly doubled the rent Jackson had been paying.

Fifty people lost their jobs, including some whom had worked at the rink for over 40 years.

Many skaters, including Aurora Hall, say the arena was like a second home to them. Hall says she enrolled in skate school at the facility when she was just seven years old.

"I am absolutely heartbroken. I think it has taken this long to finally hit me that I'm actually not going to come in tomorrow morning and come to skate and tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow evening. I'm never going to skate here again as Culver Ice Arena," said Hall.

The Los Angeles Kings and Olympic figure skaters Scott Hamilton, Michelle Kwan and Tai Babilonia have trained at the facility.

Planet Granite, a Bay Area-based company, has plans to transform the arena into a rock-climbing, yoga and fitness center.

Culver City Manager John M. Nachbar said a zoning change would be required to convert the rink into the planned fitness center.

A zoning change would need approval of the Planning Commission and City Council, Nachbar said. Additionally, because the zoning change is a discretionary approval, it would also be subject to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, said Nachbar.

More than 15,000 people have signed an online petition to save the arena.

"There is still hope to re-open it if the Culver City Planning Commission and city commissioners step up," said organizers.

CNS contributed to this report.

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