SACRAMENTO — An effort is underway to restore the Iceland Ice Skating Rink in Sacramento, which has been without a roof for years.
The rink has been an icon along Del Paso Boulevard for more than 80 years.
"It was part of a north Sacramento that is hard for folks to imagine today," said Rob Kerth, whose grandfather opened the rink in 1940.
Kerth's parents first met Iceland, but today, a patch of weeds now grows where generations of families once skated.
"Hundred of thousands of kids learned to skate here," Kerth said. "Well over 100 skaters have gone on to skate in professional ice shows. We've had Olympians come from here."
In 2010, an arsonist who has never been caught set a fire that burned the building nearly to the ground.
"It was all gone," Kerth said. "There was no piece of unburned wood left, and a lot of folks just assumed that was the end."
The rink eventually did reopen to the public, in the open air without its roof. But it closed again during the pandemic, and today, it needs a lot of restoration work.
Now, there's a cool new plan to bring the ice rink back.
"What we're going to do is put a building over the original building," Kerth said. "It will be about 8 feet above the surrounding walls that you see now."
On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council unanimously approved a $1.3 million contribution to the cost of the $2 million project.
"That's fantastic. That's great," Robert Ballentine said.
Ballentine's mother began skating at Iceland back in the '40s, and he's eager to see it return.
"It will be a landmark for that to open up again," Ballentine said.
The project will also fix the neon light facade and bring back some brightness to this historic boulevard.
"We're going to try and keep her going," Kerth said
Once funding and permits are approved, roof construction could begin in February with a grand reopening planned in the spring.
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