Recent brawl may have contributed to Emeryville roller rink's abrupt closure

Aloha Roller Rink, a pop-up roller rink at Bay Street Emeryville, suddenly closed on Wednesday a little more than two weeks after its grand opening.

The direct cause of the closure is unclear, but it comes three days after a large brawl outside the building involving a group of teenagers. Many people in the community expressed their sadness that the roller rink’s time in Emeryville was cut short.

"We're sad," Jasmin Mitchell said. "I wanted to teach my kids how to skate and this is local… we need more things for our community."

Emeryville police said an officer assigned to the Bay St. area was flagged down by a passerby who reported several large groups of juveniles fighting in the area of the Aloha Roller Rink on Sunday. Emeryville PD called in neighboring law enforcement agencies to help disperse the crowds. A spokesperson for the department said EPD had responded to two calls for service and three extra patrol incidents at the business in the past two weeks.  

It's unclear if the fight led to the closure of the center. CenterCal, which manages Bay Street Emeryville, released the following statement to KTVU.

"CenterCal expects all tenants to follow the city of Emeryville’s occupancy requirements as determined by the fire department and wants to see all Bay Street Emeryville businesses remain open and safely operational. We abide by all local regulations to ensure all requirements are met on the properties we manage.  

"CenterCal works with any and all affected tenants to help them swiftly comply with any local ordinances and occupancy requirements in order to re-open promptly.  It is the goal of CenterCal that all tenants be open during business hours and fully compliant with city, county and state regulations."

The owner of Aloha Roller Rink declined to release specific details about what happened, but in a statement, she said she’s looking for another space.

"A lot of love and hard work went into building this project for the east bay community. We are devastated to be closing our doors so soon. We thank the community for the outpour of support during this tough time for us. We have not given up on providing a skating haven for this community. We hope to find another building that we can reopen in. In the meantime, the community can continue to support us by visiting our San Jose location located at Eastridge Center."

Bay Area rapper Mistah F.A.B. hopes the roller rink reopens soon. He said a space like the roller rink is extremely important for youth.

"It's important the we go out and we become more impactful about protecting our spaces," he said. "It was a beautiful space. I saw the adult night and it was just amazing to see people with smiles on their faces getting the chance to enjoy a skating rink. It’s something Oakland hasn't had in 20 years."

Those sentiments were echoed by Mia Palmore, a 16-year-old from Oakland. She was disappointed she never got the chance to skate at Aloha Fun Center.

"We are the new generation," Palmore said. We have to learn to communicate effectively. Fist fighting is not the way to do that. It's really sad because it affects everybody else."