Monday night, for the second time, scores of residents and skating enthusiasts came before the Culver City Council to plea for the city to do something to save one of the greatest entertainment venues for young people on the Westside, The Culver Ice Arena.
The response of council members, while wringing their hands and lamenting the loss, was largely that of the monkeys on the wall with their hands over either their ears, eyes and mouth….Hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing. Months were moving but nothing of substance was being emitted.
It is times like this we miss the creative “outside the box” thinking of the late Mayor Albert Vera. He would have had novel ideas to save the rink.
To be sure the owners of the property have the absolute right to lease their property for the best rate they can get and it is also true the ice rink could not afford to pay the “doubled” rent the owners will be getting from the new tenant.
Both the LA Kings and AEG were interested in a lease on the property to maintain the site as an ice rink. They were unfortunately outbid or outflanked by Planet Granite, a Northern California rock climbing entertainment company.
Just across the street sits the Culver-Palms YMCA. For years the dedicated staff has toiled in a tired old building much too small for the extended community it serves. Several years ago when the Automobile Club of Southern California shut down its Culver City location, next door to the YMCA, and put the property up for sale the YMCA earnestly tried to purchase it. Unfortunaltely the two sides could not come to an acceptable price.
Now here comes a novel idea.
The city could declare eminent domain to purchase the property and resell it to the YMCA and the owner of the ice rink.
Don’t let the city fool you with the line “we have no money.” True enough the loss of the redevelopment agency last year tied the city’s hands on major projects but remember this, the city is about to pour millions of dollars into remaking Culver Boulevard. The city has millions of dollars in reserves that could be committed for a short time to take over the property. We ask you this, what is more important?
We wring our hands about the youth of today yet our city leaders refuse, yes refuse to push the envelope to remaking a street or saving a valuable resource for our young people to have a healthy, clean upstanding venue for their recreation.
We think the answer speaks for itself.