MACARTHUR, WV (WOAY) – Built in 1952, the MacArthur Skating Rink has been a local and cherished asset to the kids and families of Raleigh County and beyond.
The skating rink closed its doors during the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic not to re-open since. But the real shocking news came to the community when word got out that the 70-year-old skating rink is to be torn down.
Community members who have used the rink for many years feel like such a move would be a detriment to families and youth across the area.
“Tearing down this skating rink and not making it accessible to the community anymore has been felt ever since those doors have closed,” Beckley Pride President, Christina Baisden.
A local realtor had allegedly tried to buy the skating rink over a year ago in an effort to try to restore it but to no avail. They were told the building was going to be torn down for a gas station to be put in its place.
Baisden feels as though the rink was starting to exclude some youth and community members even before it was shut down. It had been used as a spot for the Beckley Area Derby Dames (BADD) to hold regular practices and meets. All of that stopped however after they suggested hosting drag events there.
Baisden feels like it was a missed opportunity for the skating rink to continue to thrive, and for the area youth to have something positive to do.
“I believe that with the more inclusion we have in these local community centers, and businesses, and surrounding areas, that we will actually attract more young people, and our young people instead of leaving here will stay here,” she says.
A petition was started online by community members who still want to use the skating rink and save it– a place where generations of kids have met up with their friends and where thousands of memories have been created.
The petition has already reached nearly 5,000 signatures on social media. You can access the petition here.