Skateland to be repurposed as homeless housing

By Emily Garcia

Skateland in Northridge, one of Southern California’s last roller skating rinks, will close down permanently due to low sales from being closed for 8 months due to the pandemic. Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission has purchased and is in escrow on the location, however, and it will now be used as homeless housing.

Considering Skateland was a place for birthdays, special occasions and hangouts for many in the Valley, many find it sad to see the iconic business go. The place attracted lots of different skaters, young and old. Nearly 8 million people have skated here over the years, according to CBS. The skating rink was very popular considering even with celebrities such as actors Jerry Lewis, James Caan, and Olivia Newton John, according to Spectrum News. 

Skateland offered disco-worthy lights, music, and even food and drinks. You could rent skates or bring your own. It was always an enjoyable time, but good things must come to an end. Owners and brothers Mike and David Fleming brought their family’s joy in skating to Valley residents.

“It’s like losing a member of the family,” 55 year old Nelson Bracamonte who has been a weekly regular at the rink since its opening on Halloween 1981 said to the Los Angeles Times.

After 60 long years, the skating center makes way for temporary housing for the San Fernando Valley’s homeless population. The Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission is working to provide job training, drug rehabilitation, mental health care and abuse treatment. The skating rink that holds so many good memories for Valley residents will now offer good memories for a different population. 

CEO of the rescue mission Ken Craft said to CBS that the shelter will house and assist local homeless including in an encampment of homeless people that is currently set up behind Skateland. Construction is slated to begin in April.

The Fleming brothers hope to open at least one more time at the beginning of the year for one last skate for Skateland fans, if the pandemic allows it.