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City Council rejects sale of Skateworld to developer

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SAN DIEGO – The San Diego City Council Monday voted down a proposal to sell the city's only remaining wooden roller skating rink to a developer who planned to demolish it and replace it with a big box retail store.

After listening to dozens of speakers who pleaded with council members to save the skating rink in Linda Vista, the council voted 6-3 against selling the Skateworld property to the developer Pacifica Companies. The technically nonpartisan council voted along party lines to avoid the sale, showing the influence of council Democrats' supermajority.

The fate of the rink has been hanging in the balance since Civic San Diego, a city-owned nonprofit, decided to open bids to sell the property last year.
Skateworld advocates collected thousands of signatures in an effort to save the skating rink, including a petition that garnered more than 19,000 supporters. The skating rink's supporters argued it is one of the last family oriented and relatively cheap activities for residents in the Linda Vista neighborhood, let alone San Diego proper.

Sunday, Skateworld supporters held a rally calling on the city to reopen the bidding on the property. They claimed that Civic San Diego opened a secretive bidding process that didn't include the community.

"I really appreciate that residents of every council district came to speak today about the community that Skateworld fosters," said City Councilwoman Barbara Bry. "I think there's so few family friendly opportunities in that community that it's really essential."

Supporters of the sale, including City Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents the district Skateworld is in, argued the process was transparent, and that the city's hands were tied and it should honor Pacifica's bid.

"I mean we had three different rounds of the bidding process. We had a tour of the area. The tour was sponsored by the Linda Vista planning group and Bayside Community Center and they were both here saying they weren’t involved," said City Councilman Scott Sherman.

City Council members Mark Kersey and Chris Cate also voted in favor of the sale.

“They could easily lose a year from now and we go through this whole process, and if we can get all 13 entities to agree to go back into redevelopment and go back open for bids they could be on the short end of the stick again and we’re right back to where we started," said Councilman Scott Sherman.
Owner of Skateworld, Gary Stang is just happy the community will have a chance to bid and provide input.
“Transparency. It’s really important. It’s important that the community have a say of how their community is developed, and what’s important. And this was important to a lot of people," said Owner of Skateworld Gary Stang.
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