Culver City Officials Freeze Plans To Replace Ice Rink - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Culver City Officials Freeze Plans To Replace Ice Rink

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As far as many Culver City residents are concerned, out with the old and in with the new is not always a good thing and the city may have found a way to save a decades-old ice arena from almost certain destruction. The 52-year old rink's new owner, Planet Granite, has plans to convert the facility into a rock climbing and yoga business. That simply doesn't sit well with a lot of city residents who appreciate the historic nature of the retro rink and relish many fond memories there.

Apparently, city officials dug through a bunch of old documents and came across a use variance granted in 1960 prohibiting the use of the property for anything except an ice rink. In addition, officials say a zone change would require environmental impact studies and a review and recommendation from the city's planning commission. Needless to say, Planet Granite is not pleased and is not inclined to just take the city's word on all of this. A spokesman for the company says their attorneys will need to inspect the variance to verify its authenticity and to ensure that it's even still in effect.

For those who have a soft spot for history and nostalgia, preserving the skating business is simply the right thing to do. In its five decade existence, the rink has hosted the likes of legendary skating partners Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner as well as Scott Hamilton, Michelle Kwan and The Great One himself Wayne Gretzky.

Technically, Planet Granite doesn't take possession of the rink until June. The current owner, John Jackson, has said he was unable to negotiate a lease renewal and could not afford the demanded $68,000 a month rent, nearly double what he had been paying. Complicating an already emotional issue is an apparent problem with an ammonia hazard connected to the rink that some believe threatens the local community and which still needs to be addressed.

The fact is, it's still too early to tell whether the city's strategy to keep the arena as an ice rink breathes new life into the business or simply succeeds in keeping it on life support for the time being.

Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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