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As roller skating’s popularity grows, north Minneapolis project targets indoor rink – MPR News

There’s a new tradition at Rice Park in downtown St. Paul: on Friday nights, roller skaters turn the sidewalk into a makeshift skate-dance floor.

The group Twin Cities Skaters host the weekly skate sessions featuring a DJ and crates of free rental skates. The event draws everyone from expert skate-dancers to kids and newcomers who are lacing up for the first time.

Roller skating made a comeback during the pandemic, and there are plenty of outdoor skate meetups around the Twin Cities. But indoor rinks are few and far between. The only ones left in the metro area are in the suburbs.

Skaters at Rice Park circle the fountain to the music from Twin Cities Skaters’ DJ on July 19.

Estelle Timar-Wilcox | MPR News

A new project called Roll North is trying to change that.

Roll North would turn a defunct ice arena in north Minneapolis into a roller rink. Announcements on social media in June garnered an immediate flood of support, both online and in the community.

Eric Moran got the idea for the rink last year when he ran for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. During the campaign, he looked for a space that could be revamped for recreation — something he said north Minneapolis lacks.

“People in this area are hungry for things to do,” Moran said. “People that live in North know that North has been neglected for so long for larger recreational activities and for spaces to go.”

One of those empty buildings was the Victory Memorial Ice Arena, which closed more than ten years ago. The school board still owns the arena and uses it for storage.  

The Victory Memorial Ice Arena has been closed for years, seen here on July 19.

Estelle Timar-Wilcox | MPR News

Moran saw potential for more in the space. He lost his campaign for the Park board, but he’s still working on the roller rink idea.

Part of the inspiration came from the growing popularity of roller skating. Moran often sees skaters on basketball courts and park sidewalks in his neighborhood.

But outdoor skating is limited to the summer in Minnesota. Rinks have shut their doors over the years. Most recently, Roller Garden in St. Louis Park closed in May 2021.

Mahogany Plautz is a north Minneapolis resident and lifelong roller skater who’s helping Moran with the Roll North project.

Twin Cities Skaters organizers take a break from dancing to skate a lap around the fountain in Rice Park.

Estelle Timar-Wilcox | MPR News

She said the sport brings people together — and she pointed to the history and culture of roller skating in the Black community. She has fond memories of the different rinks she and her friends frequented in high school.

“It crosses cultures in a lot of ways,” Plautz said. “We were all skating to the same songs, we were all doing the same skating moves. There’s just a joy in it of movement and getting free.”

North Star Roller Derby has been looking for a home rink for practices since losing its regular space during the pandemic. They’re working with Moran on the project and plan to practice at Roll North once it’s up and running.

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Source: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2022/07/26/as-roller-skatings-popularity-grows-north-minneapolis-group-eyes-indoor-rink-in-the-city

There’s a new tradition at Rice Park in downtown St. Paul: on Friday nights, roller skaters turn the sidewalk into a makeshift skate-dance floor.

The group Twin Cities Skaters host the weekly skate sessions featuring a DJ and crates of free rental skates. The event draws everyone from expert skate-dancers to kids and newcomers who are lacing up for the first time.

Roller skating made a comeback during the pandemic, and there are plenty of outdoor skate meetups around the Twin Cities. But indoor rinks are few and far between. The only ones left in the metro area are in the suburbs.

Skaters at Rice Park circle the fountain to the music from Twin Cities Skaters’ DJ on Jul…….

There’s a new tradition at Rice Park in downtown St. Paul: on Friday nights, roller skaters turn the sidewalk into a makeshift skate-dance floor.

The group Twin Cities Skaters host the weekly skate sessions featuring a DJ and crates of free rental skates. The event draws everyone from expert skate-dancers to kids and newcomers who are lacing up for the first time.

Roller skating made a comeback during the pandemic, and there are plenty of outdoor skate meetups around the Twin Cities. But indoor rinks are few and far between. The only ones left in the metro area are in the suburbs.

Skaters at Rice Park circle the fountain to the music from Twin Cities Skaters’ DJ on Jul…….

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