Randall B. Soggs, the owner of a retail plaza in Watertown, N.Y., has requested a special-use permit to convert the plaza’s roller-skating rink into a self-storage facility. The Watertown City Council is scheduled to consider the request on Dec. 2. The city’s planning board recommended the permit earlier this month.
The special permit is required because the city’s commercial district does not include self-storage in its zoning. Soggs wants to close Showtime Skating in favor of offering self-storage out of the 22,000-square-foot indoor facility, but his plan faces opposition from the rink’s manager and customers.
"We have got our regulars who come in here every Saturday. There's 50 to 60 regular kids that come in here and look forward to coming here," said Ron Brown, Showtime Skating’s manager.
If the skating rink closes, it would be the second family-friendly attraction in Watertown to go out of business in the last year, according to the source. "There's a group that's going to be opposing [the permit] at the meeting on the second," Brown said.
Those in opposition to the conversion project believe the city is losing constructive places for youth to hang out together. "I've been here every weekend since I moved here,” said customer Jordan Parker. “I like to hang out with my friends a lot, and it's a good place to hang out."
The rink has operated in Northland Plaza, 144 Eastern Blvd., for about four years.