Augusta’s only public ice skating rink and hub for recreational ice sports could soon be forced to close.
Augusta Ice Sports Center owner Duncan Crerar, who is leasing the 35,000-square-foot building, said he received a letter Tuesday telling him that the property owners intend to sell the
center at 1249 Augusta West Parkway unless he can match the $2 million offer in 15 days.
That high price tag is more than Crerar can afford, he said.
Crerar and his family have operated the center, formerly known as the Augusta Ice Forum, for 14 years.
“It’s unexpected at this point to happen now, but I always knew in the background that at any time this might happen,” Crerar said. “I understand it’s a business thing and they’re doing what’s in their best interest. I have no problem with that whatsoever. It is what it is.”
The six-acre property is owned by 1249 Augusta West Parkway LLC, which purchased the site in December for $850,000.
Crerar said the only information he knows about the potential new owners is that they’re in the “entertainment complex business.” It’s his understanding that the center won’t stay an ice skating rink, he said.
The Augusta Ice Sports Center offers lessons in ice hockey, figure skating and other ice-related activities. It also holds summer camps and is home to an ice hockey league.
The ice rink was built in 1998 and has gone through several owners. Crerar said the property was once owned by him and his father but financial issues caused lenders to foreclose on it. He’s since leased the center.
The facility, once staffed by employees, is now run by Crerar, his wife and volunteers.
He said business, especially in the summer, is scarce.
“In Augusta and in the South in general, it’s a very difficult business to be profitable in,” he said. “Skating is not second nature to people here.”
There are many in the community, though, who frequent the center and will have nowhere else to go to enjoy ice-related sports if it closes, Crerar said.
“For me personally, it’s just very emotional,” he said. “I would lease this till the day I die. I love doing this.”