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North Tonawanda rink operators purchase, will reopen Skateland

by jmaloni

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Sat, Jul 12th 2014 07:00 pm

The owners of Western New York's most enduring and successful roller skating venue have purchased the Skateland Family Fun Center and will reopen the popular Lincoln Avenue venue this fall.

Maurice D. Cooper Jr. and his wife, Barbara Hamilton Cooper, own­­­­­­ers of the Rainbow Rink in North Tonawanda, said they will spend the summer updating the popular family entertainment venue and preparing for what they are confident will be its long-term successful future.

"The City of Lockport and the surrounding communities deserve to continue to have a safe, well-run, family-oriented fun center," Maurice Cooper said. "Skateland has a proud history and we are convinced that its best years are still ahead."

The Coopers purchased the property and the business from Brian and Lori Ferraro. The Ferraros recently closed the business when property taxes on the nearly 30-year-old business fell behind and the city moved to foreclose on it. The property had been scheduled to go on the auction block in June.

The purchase price was not disclosed, although Maurice Cooper said it was sufficient to cover the payment of all past and current property taxes.

"This is a win for the city as well as a win for its children and its families," he said.

The Coopers purchased the Rainbow Roller Rink 30 years ago from Maurice Cooper's grandparents, Herbert and Ella Bale. The Bales built the popular North Tonawanda recreation venue in 1949 and it has endured and grown during its 65 years of operation.

Bale started a figure skating club in the 1950s - a club eventually coached by Cooper and the couple's son, Maurice Cooper III, who captured a 2007 world championship in Gold Coast, Australia. He is now a career Army officer serving in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division.

The Coopers' younger son, Michael Cooper, medaled in the 2011 world championships in Brasilia, Brazil, and the 2012 world championships in Auckland, New Zealand. Generations of other club members have competed nationally and internationally through the years.

The North Tonawanda rink also operates an outdoor skate park and, for the past eight years, was the home of the Queen City Roller Girls - Western New York's popular flat track roller derby league.

"The best part of our family business has been watching generations of families grow up and enjoy skating together," Barbara Cooper said. "We pride ourselves on providing a safe and exciting skating experience that includes great customer service, fun games, quality food and more. It's been a winning combination in North Tonawanda, and we look forward to bringing it to Lockport."

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