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Skate World patrons rally to save San Diego's last indoor skate rink

Posted at 5:50 PM, Apr 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 19:28:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego's City Council decided Monday to save Skate World.

The move came after Skate World fans gathered Sunday at the rink to show that they are not giving up hope that the city may change its mind.

“I showed up here with my family on a Sunday, and we never left,” Zen Sapinoso said.

That was six years ago. Since then, Sapinoso has become a household name around Skate World in Linda Vista.

"I played in the [Roller Derby] Junior Olympics twice, and I was MVP both times,” Sapinoso said.

His siblings all play roller derby. His father, BJ, even volunteers at the front desk.

Sapinoso has become the pride and joy, the future of the rink. But his home rink is facing a possible shutdown.

“It seems as though we didn't win that bid process,” rink owner Gary Stang said.

Stang started the historic rink in 1975. Last year, when he heard that the city was going to sell the land where his rink sits, he immediately found an investor and put in a competitive bid.

Unfortunately, Stang found out he was edged out by a large developer, who plans on building a big-box store in its place.

“You have a Target at the bottom of the hill. You got one on Convoy [Street], one on Balboa [Avenue]. And you have five of them, all within a five-mile radius. It just doesn't make sense,” Stang said.

But the Skate World family is not ready to give up 44 years of disco funk and counterclockwise memories. Skaters geared up for Monday's meeting with the city, where staff will potentially decide the fate of Skate World -- to keep it or sweep it.

"Quality of life is really, really important in San Diego. And slowly but surely, we are losing our identity in our quality of life if we just look at the highest price, the highest bid, and forget what the community needs and community wants are,” said Stang.

The needs and wants of this community are clear. They cannot imagine a life without Skate World.

"I'd have nowhere to go to release when I'm stressed out. Or nowhere to hang out with the friends,” Sapinoso said.

There are already about 20,000 people who have signed the petition to “Save Skate World.”

Monday’s city council meeting is at 2 p.m. at city hall. The public is invited.