Augusta Ice Sports Center could soon close

Thursday, July 10, 2014 4:33 PM
Last updated Friday, July 11, 2014 1:23 AM
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Augusta’s only public ice skating rink and hub for recreational ice sports could soon be forced to close.

The property owners say they intend to sell the center unless the rink's operator can match a $2 million offer in 15 days.  SARA CALDWELL/FILE
SARA CALDWELL/FILE
The property owners say they intend to sell the center unless the rink's operator can match a $2 million offer in 15 days.

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.”

SUPPORTERS CREATE FUNDRAISING EFFORT

News of the pending sale led supporters of the facility to create a Facebook group and an account on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe in hopes of saving the ice rink. By Thursday afternoon, the fund had raised nearly $1,000 of the $250,000 goal.

“In an ideal situation we could save this rink, but we are willing to save what we can,” read a post on the “Save the Augusta Ice Sports Center” Facebook page. “With our sport, we are conditioned to know the joy of victory and learn the sting of defeat, but no matter the outcome we have learned to put up our best and fight. We plan to go down swinging.”

Augusta Ice Sports Center owner Duncan Crerar said he’s not affiliated with the Facebook page, and a message left for the group was not immediately returned.

– Jenna Martin, staff writer

Comments (7) Add comment
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Little Lamb
49343
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Little Lamb 07/10/14 - 04:22 pm
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1
Entertainment Complex?

Columbia County government is planning to set up a "cultural arts center" that is supposed to include entertainment in the Marshall Square area. How many entertainment complexes do we need? It seems to me we are covered up with entertainment complexes. Hence, each one of them sits dark and cold most nights.

countyman
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countyman 07/10/14 - 05:00 pm
3
7
Supply & Demand

The $2 million price tags shows the older parts of West Augusta are rejuvenating..

I can't believe that Little Lamb is okay with the Columbia County government spending taxpayer money, but doesn't want the private sector to create something new in Richmond County..

Gage Creed
19483
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Gage Creed 07/10/14 - 06:49 pm
1
0
Factss

Bet the movie theater at Augusta West may be on again.. what do you think norton?

For the grand prize selected especially for you....who said this on 12/16/2011?

"The former movie theatre at the Augusta West Plaza is finally coming back to life.. No word if the plans include a new movie theatre yet.. The Village at Riverwatch had the first Starplex Cinema in the state before the recession halted the construction back in 2008.. The VAR will probably attract another movie theatre in the future.. Do you think a movie theatre at the Augusta West Plaza could survive? They're building several new homes off Belair rd, Jimmie Dyess, Gordon Hwy(btw Jimmie Dyess-Grovetown), and new condos off Augusta West Pkwy which could help support the theatre..."

Dixieman
17631
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Dixieman 07/11/14 - 08:53 am
4
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Maybe

Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice, or Ice-T would be interested in buying it?

Ashleybs
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Ashleybs 07/11/14 - 11:04 am
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I read somewhere that the

I read somewhere that the potential buyers would transform it to a trampoline park like the one that is in Columbia.

AFjoe
5631
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AFjoe 07/11/14 - 01:10 pm
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0
Who knows whats to be

It's just cold to have Mr. "C" come up with a cool 2 mil to buy the business. He loves the place and will always have a warm spot in his heart.
Sounds like lots of folks would jump at the idea of a trampoline park.

warsurplus
81
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warsurplus 07/11/14 - 09:48 pm
0
0
Last person to leave Augusta...

...Please turn off the lights.

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