Milford Skating Center at Risk of Closing - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Milford Skating Center at Risk of Closing

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A look inside of the Milford Skating Center (Source: MSC Facebook) A look inside of the Milford Skating Center (Source: MSC Facebook)
Staff at the Milford Skating Center wrote a blog, against the potential closing of the center (Source: MSC Blog) Staff at the Milford Skating Center wrote a blog, against the potential closing of the center (Source: MSC Blog)

MILFORD, Del.- The Milford Skating Center, which first opened its doors in 1982, is at risk of closing its doors for good. According to the owners, this is due to a decision by the landlord to not renew the lease, for reasons that remain unclear. The owners told WBOC that the lease officially comes to an end on June 30, and they received notice of this decision on Friday. 

"I need my customers to know," said Carmen Kemper, the owner of the center. "That we want to stay open for them." 

To raise awareness about this decision, one staff member wrote a critical blog post on Tuesday, that implicated the city leadership as well. 

"We have been hearing rumors for three months now," the post said. "We have tried to get answers. Well, we can now confirm six months late, we may close due to the City of Milford’s appetite for change."

The blogger argued that the city was pushing for this change, so that an engineering firm called Davis Bowen and Friedel could take the center's place. City Manager Eric Norenberg denied this accusation wholeheartedly. 

"I haven't talked to the landlord," he said. "I have not been part of any of that conversation. I have no idea where some of those comments came from. But from my perspective, I'd like to put that in the past and focus on how we can be helpful in the future."

Mayor Bryan Shupe released an official city response as well, in which he said that the city would never intervene between a landlord and a tenant. 

"The City of Milford," the statement said, "Including the Mayor, City Council, the City Manager and other staff, do not intervene in or participate in matters involving landlords and tenants unless there are code violations or criminal activity. With respect to the Milford Skating Center, neither such concern is present. Neither the Mayor nor City Manager have been contacted by the tenant or landlord about the status of the Milford Skating Center."

Norenberg said that the city wants to keep the skating rink in town, whether it's in the same location or not. If the landlord ends the contract, he said the city would be willing to help the owners to find a new home. 

"I think that's something that we can try to do," he said. "All we need is a phone call and some outreach from the skating center to say, 'Hey, let's work together and see what we can do." 

WBOC made numerous calls to the landlord, Silicato Developments, which have gone unanswered.

A CALL TO ACTION:

On Wednesday afternoon, the owners at Milford Skating Center released a new posting on Facebook, calling on fans of the center to take action. 

"We will continue to operate as long as we are given," they said in the post. "And it is our desire that the building owner can understand how changing the use of his building will impact the community negatively."

The writers called on city leaders and Downtown Milford Inc to speak with the landlord about the "importance of keeping" the center in downtown. In the post, the center's staff also called on Milford neighbors to come to an event on Saturday evening to show their support. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., neighbors will have the opportunity to sign the "wall of support."

"We ask that you bring your sharpie and your smile," the post read. "So we can reminisce all the good times and help share the community's desire to keep the skating center downtown."

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