Partners aim to revive old roller rink
Owners of Marple Sports Arena have spent more than $1 million to upgrade property
Two business partners are breathing new life into a venerable Chester County institution that had fallen on hard times.
Partners Jamie DiDomenico and Mike Jacobs bought the Caln Roller Rink and 26 adjoining wooded acres about a year ago and have since worked to upgrade the facility and property.
The operation, now called Chester County Sports Arena in the 4000 block of West Lincoln Highway just outside of Downingtown, offers in-line hockey leagues, clinics and open traditional roller skating and parties on the weekends.
The partners have owned and operated the Marple Sports Arena in Broomall, Delaware County, since 2001. They purchased the former Caln Roller Rink at sheriff’s sale for $517,000 and have since put $1 million in the property in upgrades, DiDomenico said.
Among the upgrades: a new roof, new heating, air conditioning and electric systems,
“We’re trying to appeal to all, not just hockey. This is a multi-sports facility. The weekends are still for parties and family fun.”
– Mike Jacobs, co-owner, Chester County Sports Arena
a new floor surface, a multisports enclosure, new bathrooms and lounge areas, and new lighting and siding.
“We gutted the whole building,” DiDomenico explained earlier this week as a group of young in-line hockey players engaged in a league game. “We do have room to put a second sheet in if there’s demand.”
Parents watching their under-9 sons perform on Tuesday gave the upgrades a thumbsup.
“They have a lot of fun,” Christine Johnson said of her four sons who use the rink for hockey, including one who is on a travel hockey team. “They’re still learning so it’s a
good thing for them. It’s a fun sport.”
Jim O’Brien of Glenmoore said his son is also enjoying the hockey and noted he was at the center last weekend for open roller skating.
A roller derby team, the Brandywine Roller Girls, also uses it, he said.
“There’s a lot of kids over here now, that’s great,” O’Brien said.
In the summer, the new operation made use of the 26 wooded acres to hold a camp featuring fishing, kayaking, zip lining, mini golf, hiking, arts and crafts and, of course, roller skating.
“We had a hundred kids a week in the summer camp,” DiDomenico said, adding that next year’s camp will include a treetop challenge course.
“We’re looking to get more kids involved” in next summer’s camps, he added.
Jacobs said that while the hockey league is bringing much of the activity – there are about 25 adult teams and 12 kids’ teams plus a travel team that goes as far away as Pittsburgh and New York to play – the owners don’t want the public to think the rink is just for hockey.
“We’re trying to appeal to all, not just hockey,” Jacobs said. “This is a multisports facility. The weekends are still for parties and family fun.”
Ryder Jones and Matthew Maillie compete on the rink at Chester County Sports Arena.
Full-size plexiglass boards allow family members to watch the action on the rink at Chester County Sports Arena.
Cooper Jones, 9, watches action between shifts with her father, coach Mike Jones and twin brother Ryder. They live in Downingtown.
Nine-year-old roller hockey league in action on the rink at Chester County Sports Arena in Caln.