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Skateport to Shutdown

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- After 37 years, Skateport will be closing its doors to the public as a result of an upcoming project by the Missouri Department of Transportation and the City of Springfield. The goal of the project is to improve traffic flow on S. Glenstone Avenue near James River Freeway.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Not much has changed inside Skateport since it opened in 1977.

"It smells the same, looks the same," said Toby Long. "It just brings back so many memories."

After 37 years, the Springfield roller rink continues to be a place not only to skate, but one where faces are familiar, the music allows you to groove, and special moments happen.

"My fondest memory here is having my birthday here," said Long.

Skateport has been the place for countless birthday parties, first-time dates, and a good share of falls-- and soon it will all come to an end. The roller rink will have to shut it doors as a result of traffic and safety concerns by modot in the proximity of the property.

The project focuses on the traffic along S. Glenstone Avenue near the James River Freeway. Two major aspects of the project include the expansion of S. Glenstone into six lanes from the James River Freeway to Battlefield, alongside the extension of Independence St., which will cross Glenstone through the Skateport Property.

"Safety is a primary goal," said Dan Salisbury, MoDOT Asst. Director of Engineering. "It should allow traffic to flow much better on Glenstone and the primary benefit of that is it will end backups onto the James River Freeway."

Owner of Skateport Ted Hall said he has proposed alternatives to MoDOT's plan of purchasing his property for the project, but was unsuccessful.

"I wish they would've reconsidered, because it's not going to fix their problem," Hall said. "I feel like it's just a bandaid with all their doing right now."

Hall says it's difficult to respond to customers who are frustrated with the situation.

"There have been several generations that grew up here," Hall said. "I haven't run into anybody too happy yet."

Customers, too, are trying to comprehend why a Springfield favorite for many has to come to an end.

"We're all family. We all love each other, we love the rink," said John Worcester. "It's not just the loss of the rink, you're breaking up a family by taking it."

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