WIN: Chatham Roller Rink Reopens After Renovation

“After a months-long hiatus, a beloved skating rink has reopened on the South Side with a fresh look.
“The Rink, 1122 E. 87th St., reopened Sept. 1 after closing in November. Owners Curtis and Ramona Pouncy celebrated the occasion with a grand reopening, welcoming about 400 young people back to the space.
“Curtis Pouncy said area kids were ‘grateful’ the rink reopened so they had something to occupy their time.
“‘One of the things that I noticed was that when the kids came in, they just stopped and looked around, and they said, ‘We’re home. I am so glad to be home. We are home,'” Ramona Pouncy said. ‘They were smiling. [There were] some kids [where] you could see little tears were welling up in their eyes.’
“Curtis and Ramona Pouncy bought The Rink in 2019. They are skating enthusiasts who frequented the rink themselves when the previous owner announced he wanted to sell the business to someone who would keep it a skating rink.
“They eventually were able to reopen as pandemic restrictions eased, but they closed in November to renovate the building, which was an electric company before it was a skating rink, Curtis Pouncy said.
“The rink has been around for almost 50 years, and it means so much to this community,’ she said. ‘If it was gone, it would leave a vacuum. These kids, it has saved lives for so many people. We have generations that come in and say, ‘This rink has saved my life. Now I’m bringing my kids and their kids to skate.’
“‘So, it’s a way of us preserving the family unit in our community and giving them something to do because there’s not a lot of things for the family to do on the South Side of Chicago.’
“The couple is committed to preserving skating for the next generation and helping get people of all ages involved. They’ll also hold future community outreach events which will be posted on The Rink’s website and social media pages.
“‘The Rink is for the community, it’s for the kids, families that live in that general area, and it gives them something to do. And we feel it’s kind of our mission to continue that rink for this underserved area,’ Curtis Pouncy said. ‘They don’t have much to do in terms of recreation, and we feel we’re providing some good clean, wholesome fun for these kids in this area.’ (McDonald, Block Club Chicago, 9/9/22)

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