Beloved skate arena in Everett barely hanging on from pandemic struggles

A beloved skate arena in Snohomish County is still hanging on by a thread, but with the pandemic still ongoing, the owner doesn't know how much time the rink has left.

"You get all of those creeping thoughts in your head, like is it time to move on? Can we make it this far?" said Everett Skate Deck owner Ryan Acklus.

The Everett Skate Deck has been a place for rolling fun since 1961 and was started by Acklus' grandfather. However, the coronavirus pandemic forced the Everett staple to shut down in March.

"We get phone calls every day wanting to know if we're open and kids waiting outside thinking there's going to be a session," said Acklus.

Under Gov. Jay Inslee's Phase 1 plan, the arena is only permitted for practice and training in groups of no more than five athletes. Jillian Danda, 6, has been skating at the rink for about a year and has already won several medals. She said she misses going to competitions the most.

"I want to become a champion and become a good skater," said Danda.

However, with the threat of the arena not surviving the pandemic, skate coach Ezra Thompson says he's concerned for the youth.

"They have a long future ahead of them, but if they don't have a place to train. That's going to make it hard for them to accomplish their goals," said Thompson.

Thompson said the arena allowed him to train his roller figure skating club, the Everett Eagles, and they went on to win many championships. But with no end in sight with the pandemic, there are fears for the future of the skating industry.

"We are headed there if we don't get a solution to this issue," said Acklus.

For now, Acklus is remaining hopeful that one day his family's livelihood will be rolling again soon.

"I mean, just keep rolling, that's really it. Don't let the spirit of it die throughout this whole thing," said Acklus.