It’s now only days, if not hours, left to save Ice Station Valencia, the 93,000-square-foot ice facility that has served the Santa Clarita Valley for 20 years, from permanent closure if no serious potential buyer steps up, its owner said Monday.
“The urgency was a month ago. Today, we’re counting down the hours, like, literally hours and days,” said owner Roger Perez, who helped build the three-sheet ice facility used over the two decades for the local hockey and skating community.
At the end of March, the business announced it would immediately close its doors permanently, which followed a previous announcement about a temporary suspension of operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
The closure has touched the hearts of many as the facility has served as a second home to many local residents in the youth and adult recreational programs and high school, college and youth travel hockey programs.
In an effort to bring attention to the effects of the closure and to save the ice rink, members of the community have voiced their concerns in numerous ways, including signing a petition, “Save the Ice Station,” that has collected more than 25,300 signatures, partaking in a caravan rally, and most recently, talking to the Santa Clarita City Council.
On April 28, council members heard from a handful of supporters, urging council members to preserve the land use of the property as an ice skating rink and to step into negotiations with a potential buyer. Speakers called in to the council meeting last week to express how important Ice Station is and what a permanent closure would mean to the community. Among them was Kathleen White, the mother of a daughter with special needs who participated in the SNAP (Special Needs Athletes & Peers) Sports.
“Ice Station Valencia became an incredibly important community connection for us and so many other families. Closing permanently would be such a huge blow to the entire Santa Clarita community. Please consider helping SNAP sports and several other organizations that benefit. Save the rink,” said White as she broke down over the phone.
Despite the support from thousands, Perez said negotiations with some who expressed interest in buying the ice rink, including the Los Angeles Kings, have fallen through.
“Most people that were interested that looked at it had two common things they shared. One is that they didn’t have the wherewithal to put together such a big deal and the second thing is they all pretty much agreed that the asking price was fair because the asking price was strictly for property value,” he said, adding that buyers would also benefit from an employee base that would be ready to return to work.
At this point, after having already asked the landlord for help with a potential sale, Perez believes there are limited components that could help save the rink.
“There are components out there that could make this happen if only these components would come together: The city working with private money could probably take this deal across the finish line. I’m willing to work with anybody to try and make that happen,” he said.
The city was in the process of setting up a meeting with Perez on Monday, according to Communications Manager Carrie Lujan.
Perez is expecting to hear back from the city following their meeting, he said.