A vacant hockey arena could become an ice rink in North Minneapolis

Roll North plans to buy the arena in the first half of next year, with an opening date set for sometime in 2024.

MINNEAPOLIS — A peek through the windows of the old Victory Memorial Ice Arena in North Minneapolis gives you a glimpse into the past.

Faded images of youth hockey teams and stacked newspapers tell the stories of what once was.

“It’s hard to see, you know, this huge space that functioned as a functioning sports arena and has been vacant for so long,” said Susanne Bushman of North Star Roller Derby.

For more than a decade, the arena, owned by Minneapolis Public Schools, has served as a makeshift storage unit, sitting on land full of potential that Eric Moran is looking to exploit.

“To turn this space into a roller rink,” Moran said. He went on to say that “if this building existed in another part of Minneapolis, it would have been immediately converted into something that was in use.”

His newly dubbed “Roll North” initiative seeks to create a space not only for skating, but also a hub for economic opportunities on the north side.

“We will employ a lot of people who live in the neighborhood, employing a lot of young people, especially young people from Patrick Henry Secondary School which is just behind the facility,” Moran explained. “North Minneapolis is sorely lacking in recreational activities or even a destination.”

RELATED: A vacant hockey arena could be turned into a roller rink

That’s why nonprofits like North Star Roller Derby are partnering with Moran to breathe new life into the vacant space.

“We just want to be good stewards of this community and we want to use this space to be able to reach new people, to see what we can do, how we can bring roller derby to new people and new audiences, to new skaters,” Bushman said.

“We want to be able to provide an opportunity for recreational activities with a very low cost of entry and something very accessible to individuals,” Moran said.

For now, this is a preview of what could be…

“The fact that he’s vacant is just a missed opportunity,” Bushman said.

Create new memories, for generations to come.

“Where connections can be made, where happiness can happen, and where that love and joy of skating can be found for everyone,” Bushman said.

Roll North is in the process of acquiring the facility from Minneapolis Public Schools. The district says the property must be deemed surplus property by the school board before it can be sold.

Roll North plans to buy the arena in the first half of next year, with an opening date set for sometime in 2024.

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