LOCKPORT – The owners of North Tonawanda’s Rainbow Roller Rink announced Friday that they have purchased Skateland, the Lockport roller skating facility that closed in May. Maurice Cooper Jr. and Barbara Cooper said they will reopen Skateland this fall. They didn’t disclose the purchase price but said it would be enough to cover the back taxes on the Lincoln Avenue facility.
As of the closure May 18, the former owners needed to pay the City of Lockport $57,255 to keep the property out of the city tax foreclosure auction later this year.
Skateland, owned by Ferraro Entertainment, had lost money for 19 consecutive years, co-owner Lori Ferraro told The Buffalo News two weeks before the shutdown. The family business was being subsidized by revenue from another Ferraro-owned rink in Lake George, which has fallen on hard times.
Ferraro and her husband, Brian, had been seeking donations to try to stave off foreclosure.
The Coopers promised to update Skateland before reopening it.
Maurice Cooper said that the miniature golf course will be painted, new carpeting will be installed, and restroom and games will be updated. He added that all the offerings of the old Skateland will be kept, including laser tag.
The Ferraros got in financial trouble by attempting to do that in 1995, when they added a miniature golf course and a laser tag facility. That increased their property taxes but didn’t succeed in bringing in enough new revenue to pay them.
After the closing, a Buffalo News reporter saw video game machines being hauled out of the building. A private auction was to have been held in early June, but it was canceled. The reason for the cancellation, said Patrick J. Bradley, spokesman for the Coopers, was that they had made a purchase offer on the facility. The offer was accepted, and the Coopers picked up the keys Friday, Bradley said.
“The City of Lockport and the surrounding communities deserve to continue to have a safe, well-run, family-oriented fun center,” Maurice Cooper said. “Skateland has a proud history, and we are convinced that its best years are still ahead.”
The Coopers have owned Rainbow Roller Rink for the past 30 years. That business is 65 years old. Under the Coopers, it added an outdoor skate park and hosted the Queen City Roller Girls, a flat-track roller derby team. It also hosts a roller figure skating club, coached by Maurice Jr. and the Coopers’ elder son, Maurice III. The latter won a world roller skating championship in 2007, and the couple’s younger son, Michael, won medals in the 2011 and 2012 world championships.