Old North Side Improvement League building could become roller rink

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 5:34 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown’s old North Side Improvement League building could become home to a roller skating rink.

Kenneth Vrooman of Watertown wants to open Northside Skates in the building, which has been vacant for a decade.

“North side hasn’t anything like this in a very long time. I think the community will actually enjoy it,” he said.

Vrooman says he used to be an avid skater back in the day and his kids have come to share that hobby.

“My kids love to roller skate and I think it would just be a nice thing for this side of town,” he said.

Planning is in its early stages, but Vrooman has plans for a 40-foot by 80-foot roller rink, along with a snack bar.

Current property owner Jake Johnson says the building was gutted a few years back, so what’s left is one big open space.

If things go according to plan, Vrooman will rent that space and open a roller rink come summer.

“It’s early, but yes, we’ll see how fast we can get it to move,” he said.

Vrooman’s daughter Katelin hopes the rink will become a safe social hub for kids in the area.

“I feel like being able to go somewhere else other than home is a lot more fun,” she said.

City Planner Geoff Urda says he’s optimistic about the project.

“From the planning department’s perspective, it’s always good to see a vacant building put back into productive use. We’re glad to see that and we wish them the best with their venture,” he said.

Vrooman says that he’s in talks with vendors for the building’s concessions. Right now, the plan is to open the rink at some point during the summer, but that is subject to change.