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Rocking & Rolling Fourth; skating rink opens

A skating rink aimed at people of all ages will open Saturday in the shopping center that used to house Matt Gay Chevrolet, at 325 Mims Road in Sylvania.

The owner of J&T Family Skating Fun, James Parrish Sr., said he also has purchased Eugenia’s restaurant next door and will re-open it in a couple of weeks as a buffet restaurant and supplement to parties and other events at the skating rink.

Five workers spent about five hours Tuesday laying the floor for the rink – made of plastic tiles that snap together and that are used in about 70 roller skating rinks worldwide. The floors also are the official floor for roller derby and are used for inline hockey.

For 30 years, Parrish operated a company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Florida Fresh Milk Co. – that transports milk to and from Wisconsin. He retired to Sylvania, where he has relatives, about a year ago, leaving his son to operate the Florida company. Parrish said he said he saw a need for something safe and fun for children to do and came up with the idea of the skating rink.

“I saw all the young people don’t have anything to do,” he said. “This is for the community.”

The rink’s hours will be: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., according to A.J. Trimble, general manager of the rink. Each day will be divided into morning, afternoon and night sessions -- 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Admission will be $5 for the morning session, $3 for the afternoon session and $8 for night sessions, he said. Customers can buy a six-month membership for $15 that gives them a variety of discounts, including $2 off night sessions and $1 off morning sessions.

Those prices are for customers who use their own skates. Renting skates costs an additional $1 per session, he said.

The memberships also include one free admission during the six-month period, 20 percent off concessions, a speed pass to the front of the line and use of a card system that works like a debit card at the rink. Concessions will include soda, nachos, hot dogs and hamburgers.

Special events will be scheduled at the rink, such as gospel night on Mondays, country night on Tuesdays, oldies-disco night on Wednesdays and a 70s-style Roll Bounce night on Thursdays. Customers who dress according to those themes will receive a discount, Trimble said.

Children under age 14 must be accompanied by an adult and everyone must follow rules that include no loitering, weapons, drugs, alcohol or fighting. An off-duty law enforcement officer will be on hand every night and a drug-sniffing dog will make random passes through the business, Parrish said.

“It’s safe, good fun,” Trimble said.  “The rules will be strictly enforced.”

Ten part-time workers will operate the rink, along with seven volunteers.

The rink will try to attract seniors in the afternoons who are looking for an indoor place to walk or do aerobics. And it will plan after-school programs for children, Trimble said.

Trimble, who has done such things as manage car sales and work as a counselor at a juvenile facility, said he has been studying how other skating rinks operate for five months. He has visited rinks in Macon, Augusta, Savannah, South Carolina and Florida. He also is executive administrator of City of Victory Church in Sylvania.