For over 60 years, Skateland has been a longtime attraction to San Fernando Valley residents. However, Los Angeles Councilman John Lee announced on Nov.16 that the owners of Skateland were looking to retire the business and convert the skating rink into a homeless shelter.
Skateland opened in 1958 and has been owned by the Flemmings family since the late 1960s. It is one of the last remaining indoor skating rinks in the Los Angeles County area for families and roller skaters to enjoy.
In March, stay-at-home orders put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic forced the business to close its doors. While the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to increase, Skateland has been closed for eight months with no clear sight of when reopening will be allowed.
Elijah Perez, a past employee of the rink, said Skateland added to the San Fernando Valley experience.
“Growing up in the Valley and attending school in the Valley, Skateland was the place we went to every Friday for teen night, it was a spot every fundraiser is held and a place we went to every birthday,” Perez said. “It’s going to be sad to see it go.”
Working at the rink was Perez’s first job. He said he was happy to experience the culture and energy Skateland offered him on a regular basis.
“I used to be so excited to go to work everyday. Working at a place for a year and a half can be tiring, but I loved every second of it,” Perez said.
In a Nov.10 Facebook post, the company announced it was considering working with the Hope of Valley Rescue Mission to create a Bridge housing facility to provide a permanent resident for homeless Angelenos.
The plans are not yet confirmed between Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission and Skateland.
If the shelter is approved by the city council, they are looking to offer mental health services, drug and alcohol recovery programs in addition to housing.
Towards the beginning of 2020, there were 735 unhoused people in John Lee’s Council District 12 which includes Northridge, Chatsworth, North Hills and West Hills according to the Los Angeles Homeless Authority, 659 of which were unsheltered.