CLOSINGS AND DELAYS:

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Skyborn Skateland owner negotiating sale of rink

Published: Monday, June 29, 2015 @ 3:39 PM
Updated: Monday, June 29, 2015 @ 3:39 PM

The owner of Skyborn Skateland said today that he is negotiating with a couple of potential buyers and is hoping the skating rink will open as scheduled after taking its traditional early-July holiday.

The previous operators of the rink have defaulted on their lease-to-purchase agreement, meaning that David Ripp — who owned and operated Skhyborn Skateland between 2002 and 2010 and grew up skating at the rink — will regain full oversight of the property on Wednesday, Ripp said Monday.

Ripp —president of Richmond, Ind.-based Skates U.S., an importer and distributor of roller and ice skates — said he is in negotiations with “a couple of potential purchasers” who have expressed interest in keeping the rink operating if they purchase the building and property at 5309 Haddix Road outside Fairborn.

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“I would like to see it stay a skating rink, if at all possible,” Ripp said.

The rink traditionally closes on July 4 weekend.

Erica Collins, who has operated the skating rink with her husband since 2010, confirmed that the couple has decided not to continue overseeing the rink and to default on the lease-to-purchase agreement.

Collins said attendance has dwindled over the years, and took another hit earlier this year when an inspection by the state fire marshal’s office in February found 42 violations of fire codes. Collins and the rink’s staff quickly corrected 29 of the 42 violations, allowing the rink to reopen within a couple of days, but news coverage left the impression in the community that the rink had shut down, Collins said.

“Our numbers never returned to where they should have been,” Collins said.

And earlier this month, many customers misunderstood a Facebook entry that Collins posted, mistakenly concluding that the rink was shutting down permanently, Collins said.

Collins urged her former customers to continue patronizing the rink after any potential ownership change.

“Kids need to get off their computers and Facebook and come out and skate,” Collins said. “They need to get out and look into other people’s faces.”