But Has No Plans for Ice Skating
The following statement was posted by Planet Granite on its website in response to the outpouring of support for the Culver Ice Arena. Planet Granite makes it clear skating is not part of its plans for the future of the property. Readers responded to Planet Granite. You can read the responses at: http://www.planetgranite.com/news/2014/01/20/new-planet-granite-location-in-culver-city-addressing-the-skating-communitys-concerns/
New Planet Granite Location in Culver Addresses skating community's concerns
Since the announcement of our future Culver City location, the Planet Granite team has received a great number of emails, phone calls and Facebook posts from members of the Culver City and greater LA skating community.
We are overwhelmed by the depth of feeling within this group. Being just as passionately involved in the active community, we sympathize with the loss of this local gathering place.
This outpouring of support over the last week has shown us that Culver City is filled with passionate people who care deeply about this sport. With respect to your many inquiries, we would like to directly address the various points and suggestions offered.
The skating rink has immense charm, but it is in need of significant work. The landlords rely on the rent to support themselves and their families. They seek a tenant for their building who can reliably pay a fair rent and properly maintain their building.
Several parties have had conversations with the landlords, including the owners of the LA Kings. As Luc Robitaille, the Kings President, has been quoted, this was "a breakeven proposition", at best. Given all the resources of an NHL team, this further calls into question the success and future of an ice rink in this location.
The complete details of our agreement with the landlords are of course private, but we will pay a fair market rate for this property. Various Facebook postings and articles have suggested the details of our lease – none of them are accurate.
Numerous members of the skating community have suggested that we co-exist on the site with the ice skating rink by building in the large parking area behind the building. We appreciate this clever and imaginative suggestion, and spent some time exploring its feasibility. Unfortunately, both businesses need parking for their members and guests, which would then need to be built underground.
It is simply not financially reasonable to build a new building and two stories of underground parking required to service the two businesses. Also, the parking lot is understandably zoned residential to protect the surrounding residential neighborhood.
It has also been suggested that we find another site elsewhere in the neighborhood. We have been looking for a location in Culver City and the surrounding areas for many years. It is incredibly difficult to find a building that meets our needs in terms of zoning, parking, access and size in which to build a climbing gym. It may seem that there are numerous acceptable alternatives, but if there were, we would have built there long ago.
We are aware of the environmental challenges that come with leasing a property that housed an older ice rink. We will work with the City, the local Fire Department, and the Landlords to mitigate any environmental damage. Although we did not cause any of the environmental issues that come with this property, we are dedicated to spending considerable time, energy, and money needed to help clean up this site and protect the Culver City land and residents.
Planet Granite is a group of passionate climbers who have built three Bay Area climbing gyms over the last 20 years. Similar to an ice rink, our gyms are filled with vibrant communities. Athletes come to train for outdoor adventures, working people come for healthy recreation with their families, and kids learn to climb while developing confidence and physical coordination.
Many of our young climbers go on to compete at a national level; our youth team recently was Divisional Team Champions . These different sectors of our community mix and mingle, sharing their passion for their sport and enriching each other's lives. We are confident these values and activities are similar to the Culver City community's.
Our commitment to community has lead us to regularly donate to charitable organizations including Outward Bound, Environmental Traveling Companions (who take kids with disabilities on outdoor trips), the SharmaFund, Big City Mountaineers (who take at-risk youth on hiking and camping expeditions) and numerous other non-profit organizations – visit our website for more detailed information.
We offer free use of our facilities to non-profit groups to bring underserved and at-risk kids climbing. Like the kids who have grown up at the Culver City Rink, many of our young climbers have forged life-long relationships with the people in our communities. Many have grown-up with us, and eventually work, coach, instruct and even manage in our gyms.
We at Planet Granite want to thank the skating community for helping us understand your concerns. We truly sympathize with the loss you are feeling and hope a broader picture of the situation will allow us all to move forward amicably.
We take seriously our responsibility within the community. We promise to build a unique gym that Culver City can be proud of. We are thrilled to share our passion and love of climbing and fitness to our newest location and look forward to serving you.