A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Group hopes to purchase old roller rink

Written March 24th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

The old Albany Skateway building at 725 Montgomery St. S.E., photographed on March 22, 2024.

Because of a message someone had sent me, the bike and I stopped in front of the old Albany Skateway roller rink near the Pacific Boulevard overpass one rainy day last week.

“We, The Albany Social Club, are trying to purchase the old skating rink and turn it into a place where people can meet, greet and have fun,” said the message from Natalie A. Brown, a member of the group.

The group says it has 286 members “and growing everyday.” It also has about 20 people willing to invest in the purchase, but it needs more investors to reach the $200,000 purchase price.

The club is on Facebook as “The Albany Social Club.” Its page features a lively discussion of the proposed purchase. If you’re interested, that is where you’ll find more information on how to get involved.

The old rink at 725 Montgomery St. S.E. has been closed for a while and doesn’t look like much from the outside. But the inside looks OK for renewed use, judging by photos online.

The interior photos, copyrighted in 2022, are on the website of The Cadwell Real Estate Group. One shows dozens of roller skates neatly lined up in one corner of the floor.

The roller rink has been an Albany landmark since it was built in 1939, the same year its current and longtime owner, David E. Kuntz, was born. It was also the year the highway overpass next door was built as the “Southern Pacific R.R. Overcrossing.”

Kuntz built a bigger rink on Sixth Avenue across from Hackleman Park and opened it in late 2000. But, as he told the newspaper at the time, business did not grow as he had hoped and in the summer of 2003 the rink had to close. (Now that building is the home of the Habitat for Humanities Restore.)

For years, the sign of the old rink on a 54-foot pole would send motorists on the overpass a neon message: “SKATE.” As the neon tubes failed, the message first became “KATE” and then “ATE” before eventually going dark all the way.

In October 2008, the sign came down, and for some years after that the Stars and Stripes flew on that pole instead. The flag is gone now, and the pole is bare.

It’s possible that the building will once again hum with activity if The Albany Social Club succeeds and goes through with its plans. (hh)

On its south side, the roller rink property is bordered by the overgrown Eighth Avenue Canal.

5 responses to “Group hopes to purchase old roller rink”

  1. LaBrasseur says:

    Way to be about it, and just not talk about it! Never heard of this Albany social club, but good for them on getting themselves out there and trying. Albany needs more of this in our community! Using resources we already have, where they are already at! Cumberland is nice and all, but shoulda, coulda, woulda done that 20 yrs ago, not as the hilarious, money pit, swan song, it is now.

  2. chris j says:

    This is the way a community should be. Build up the people who want a positive life. Maybe this can be a catalyst for a better Albany. Bless these people for their efforts and hopefully others will back them too. They can count our family to contribute in anyway we can. Best news I have heard in a long time concerning community efforts. Thank you Hasso for reporting on this. It is amazing to know that kindness still has heartbeat here in Albany.

  3. Emma Eaton says:

    This is great news!
    I have looked at the Albany Skateway Roller Rink and asked that same question many
    Albany needs places for all generations to meet and greet and have fun together.
    I support The Albany Social Club for taking this on!
    It isn’t considered historic is it?

  4. CHEZZ says:

    Cumberland Events Center is a well run, non profit that will open its doors in 2025. The place is beautiful with new paint, steeple, and stained glass recovery efforts. The organizers and board had well thought out plans from the beginning, with many businesses and corporates behind this Center being realized. I hope to donate a music event to the Center as a celebration for their first year opening. Great Job, Cumberland!!

  5. Marla Hagner says:

    So is this group going to have this building for everyone? Will they help everyone? When I was a child I use to skate there. If they do get it I hope they make it beautiful.


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