FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Nowadays, skating rinks are increasingly hard to find.
Four wheels, a hard wood floor, and music equals pure simplicity.
“All the bad things, you forget about (them when you got skating). It’s awesome,” young skater Cadence Heierman said.
Which is why for Fort Pierce residents, the marquee outside SkateTown is devastating.
It says “BARRING A MIRACLE, CLOSING JULY 9TH. THANKS 4 THE MEMORIES.”
It was enough to reduce Cadence to tears.
“It just breaks my heart because I’ve been going here for a really long time,” she said, fighting back tears.
Harry Stuart shares that emotion.
“Almost brings a tear to my eye,” he says.
Stuart has owned Skate Town for more than 20 years.
After hurricanes hit in 2005, his insurance refused to pay – and he had to borrow money for repairs.
He says since the economic downturn in 2008, his lender, TD Bank, has been hard on him.
“Multiple times over the years, refused to do anything to work with us, to modify our loan,” he says.
Now, they have until July 9 to pay up to the tune of $515,000 or they will close for good.
That doesn’t sit well with father Tracey Williams who says it’s more than just a skating rink in the community.
“I’ve already lost a son here in Fort Pierce due to violence,” he says. “To lose something as much as a skating rink to help a child stay out of trouble is crazy.”
Whether is getting away from the violence or just getting away, it’s a building that means many things to many people.
No matter how this one ends, it’s a legacy Stuart says he can be proud of.
“We knew we were important to the community,” Stuart says. “We just never knew how important.”
Stuart says they’ll have to close on July 9 so they can start selling off assets.
He has to hand over the keys by Aug. 1, because the bank has threatened to take his house as collateral.