On Sunday, a host of Big Walnut area residents stopped at Sunbury Skate Club for one last turn around the rink. The McAtee’s, owners since 2005, sold the rink to Drew Tuttle who plans to remake the space into a family fun center.
Well over 150 folks showed up for the final open skate, including Ed and Bobbie Herd, who bought the business in 1984 and operated the rink until they sold it to the McAtees.
Sharmin McAtee, who has been the business’s proverbial chief cook and bottle washer, said the last skate was bittersweet.
“I’ll be happy not to be dealing with the business side of things anymore,” McAtee said. “But I’m really going to miss the people, especially the children.”
The day was also the birthday of Roger Owen, who worked at the rink for 50 years – the only full-time job he’s had since he got out of the Navy. Nickie Herd-Walker, Ed and Bobbie’s daughter, put the word out on the U-Caring website and members of the community donated $1,775 for Roger’s birthday, and Herd-Walker said that amount could still grow.
“There are people today who never forgot how you made them feel when they were children,” Herd-Walker said when presenting the check to Owen. “Sunbury is a very special place, and you and this place have been a big part of our community.”
Appropriately, Semisonic’s Closing Time was the song played during the afternoon’s last skate.