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Vacant North Minneapolis ice arena could become roller skating rink

Hopes to transform former ice arena into roller rink
Hopes to transform former ice arena into roller rink 01:59

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Victory Memorial Ice Arena in North Minneapolis has been vacant for years, but now, there are new hopes to transform the building into a roller rink. 

From music to the lights, roller skating spins people into nostalgia.

"There's a lot of joy to be found in roller skating," North Star Roller Derby member Susanne Bushman said.

Now, there's an idea to bring that joy to North Minneapolis and bring new life to a building that's seen better days.

"It's something this neighborhood desperately needs," Roll North Founder Eric Moran said.

Eric Moran, a former candidate for Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, is trying to turn Victory Memorial Ice Arena, which has been shuddered since the early 2010's, into 'Roll North.' The building is located on 42nd Avenue and North Morgan Avenue in North Minneapolis, near Patrick Henry High School. 

"I want to be employing students. It will be a huge creator of jobs in the area," Moran said. 

The building is owned by Minneapolis Public Schools and is currently used for storage. A district spokesperson said Victory Memorial Ice Arena (VMIA) has not yet been designated by the School Board as a surplus facility, which would be the first step in the process.  Moran said he's been talking with school board members and gaining support from the community since February and is working on the next steps to acquire the building. 

"It's painful to see because it's exactly what we've been searching for, that needle in a haystack," Buchman said. 

It's the perfect facility for North Star Roller Derby which has struggled to find a rink after others closed during the pandemic. 

"We always feel like guests wherever we go and we are looking for somewhere and we are looking for somewhere to find our home and sense of community," Bushman said. 

"During their season once or twice a month instead of this being open skate this could be a place people could come watch a sporting event in their neighborhood as well," Moran said.

If the idea comes to life, it will be the only roller rink in Minneapolis. 

"Usually, you only see roller rinks really far into the suburbs so I think to have someplace right here in the cities that would bring people together both derby skaters and jam skaters or rink skaters all in one place would be really special," Bushman said.

If the plans comes to fruition, Moran said he hopes to open the roller rink to the public in 2024.

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