MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - For decades, Victory Memorial Ice Arena in North Minneapolis was home to everything from high school hockey teams to figure skating lessons.
But now the vacant ice arena could help north Minneapolis get on a roll.
"I think it's a phenomenal idea. We have such a lack of community spaces in north," Eric Moran of Roll North told FOX 9.
Moran wants to turn the building into a destination roller rink, named Roll North, that could be used for birthday parties, skateboarding pop-ups and even roller derby bouts.
For decades, Victory Memorial Ice Arena in North Minneapolis was home to everything from high school hockey teams to figure skating lessons. But now the vacant ice arena could help north Minneapolis get back on a roll.
There are only a handful of roller skating rinks left in the Twin Cities metro, but this would be the only one in Minneapolis.
Moran says the arena is owned by Minneapolis Public Schools, which uses it for equipment storage.
But it hasn't been occupied since the original ice cooling unit broke and was too expensive for the district to fix more than 10 years ago.
"North Minneapolis has always been neglected as far as buildings like this go," Moran said. "If this building existed in any other part of Minneapolis the space would have been filled within a year or two."
He says he made finding a new use for the arena one of his campaign goals when he ran for a Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board seat last year, but lost.
Inside the Victory Memorial Ice Arena
The resurgence of roller-skating during the pandemic, as shown on TV shows like Stranger Things, and the need for recreational resources in north Minneapolis make this an idea whose time has come.
"Hockey is very expensive, not accessible to many people," Moran said. "roller-skating is way more accessible to the community – all you need is skates."
Moran says giving new life to the old ice arena would be a win for the neighborhood, and he is trying to build community support for the project.
"There is so much that people want in this space and so much that people are excited to have this happen, and I'm right there with them," he said.
If all goes well he hopes to open Roll North in 2024.