Last Go-Round For Ft. Lauderdale Roller Rink

After 64 Years, Gold Coast Roller Rink Closing Its Doors

It's the last go-round for a Fort Lauderdale institution.

After 64 years of serving South Florida skaters, Gold Coast Roller Rink on U.S. 1 is shutting its doors.

"This is a community, a family, and they're just pushing us aside," said Chuck Blondeau, who's been coming to Gold Coast Roller Rink for 21 years to take part in Tuesday's Gay Skate Night.

"I'm sad, I'm actually about to cry," he said, "I'm not going to be able to go skating with my friends in an establishment that's catered to the gay community for 43 years."

The Gay Skate Night started in 1968 and used to draw hundreds of people. In the last 10-15 years, crowds have dwindled, but the connection the skaters feel has not.

"I don't know what I'm going to do on Tuesday nights anymore," said Ryan Conley, a volunteer rink ref for the last decade. "I can probably count on one hand the number of times I haven't been on a Tuesday."

Conley says the owner sold the roller rink for financial reasons and the new owner plans to build a pet lodge in its place.

"The prices are very cheap here so I know it wasn't a gold mine for the owner," said Misha, Gold 
Coast's DJ on Tuesday nights. "The land is prime real estate, so he probably made a smart business decision on his behalf."

But that doesn't make it any easier of less emotional for Gold Coast regulars and the Gold Coast Derby Girls, a roller derby team that now has to find a new home.

The final skate at Gold Coast is on Sunday night.

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