Part­ners aim to re­vive old roller rink

Own­ers of Marple Sports Arena have spent more than $1 mil­lion to up­grade prop­erty

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian McCul­lough bm­c­cul­lough@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

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.”

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ryder Jones and Matthew Mail­lie com­pete on the rink at Chester County Sports Arena.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Full-size plex­i­glass boards al­low fam­ily mem­bers to watch the ac­tion on the rink at Chester County Sports Arena.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Cooper Jones, 9, watches ac­tion be­tween shifts with her fa­ther, coach Mike Jones and twin brother Ryder. They live in Down­ing­town.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Nine-year-old roller hockey league in ac­tion on the rink at Chester County Sports Arena in Caln.

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