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High hopes to reopen East Side skating rink

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The building at 40 East Amherst St. is currently closed.

A resurging Buffalo neighborhood in the Main and Amherst area may soon get a little more life with the potential re-opening of a roller rink.

The Common Council has a chance on Wednesday to start the process to re-open an aging roller rink at 40 East Amherst St., in an area recovering from the Great Recession.

Pharaoh Paige said the site formerly known as the Arcadia does not look very good right now, but he has elaborate plans to bring it back to life. He said LED lights on the front, some painting and repairs on the outside and re-paving the parking lot will help draw people in to new facilities inside. The hope is to draw in different, separate age groups to make the project work.

The project will require in-depth security for some age groups to make everyone feel safe and want to come back to try their moves on the skating floor. Paige said the facility can have both security and profit.

"We just believe there's so many people. We don't have to keep letting an individual in because they are spending money in our establishment," he said. "How we do our marketing? We are able to sustain income in our business by being able to weed out those individuals who don't want to be a part of the neighborhood."

Random interviews of passersby in the area said they want the rink to re-open.

"As long as there's music and stuff like that, I think they'll  be happy," Dee said while walking by the rink.

"I'm 70-some years old, so I don't skate, but I hope they open it for some young kids," said Billy Brown, on his way from church.

Erie County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams said, as a young person, she had a lot of fun skating in the building. However, as a police officer, she dealt with problems at skating rinks.

"It's in a great location and I think putting the proper things in place - i.e., security, rules, regulations - I think it's going to be a very successful business. It'll be a great place for not only for young people, but for adults who enjoy skating."

The plan before the Council comes after a recommendation from the Planning Board and passage through the Council Legislation Committee.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.