Roller Garden closing after five decades

End of an era for community

Front+entrance+to+the+Roller+Garden+%28April+27%29.+The+Roller+Garden+will+officially+close+May+8+after+52+years+of+operation.

Lydia Dearking

Front entrance to the Roller Garden (April 27). The Roller Garden will officially close May 8 after 52 years of operation.

Anna Benishek

When senior Mimi Kniser heard the Roller Garden would be shutting its doors after 52 years, she was disappointed because of the nostalgia the rink has held for so many years. 

“It’s a little sad for me because a lot of people used to go there a lot when they were little for birthday parties and there’s a lot of memories there for a lot of people,” Kniser said.

The Roller Garden made the announcement (date) that they would be shutting down as COVID-19 has forced the owners, now in their late 70’s, to sell the property. 

Kim Swenson, the general manager of the Roller Garden, said the closing has affected Minnesotans across the metro area.

When we said in the notice that we’ve watched people grow up, bring their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, that was not just a statement — that was the honest and goodness truth. We get that many generations in here and it’s been such a joy for us all these years”

— Kim Swenson

“Not only St. Louis Park, but the whole Twin Cities area has been such a staple for so many people. We have an outpouring of people showing up to share their love of the Roller Garden,” Swenson said. “Obviously they’re very disappointed that we’re closing but they understand. This (rink) has played a big part in a lot of people’s lives over the years. So it’s definitely going to be a loss.”

Sophomore Sophia Nagorski said despite not having many experiences at the Roller Garden herself, she is upset about it closing since it’s been such a fundamental part of the local area.

“It’s really sad actually. I don’t go there that frequently but it always did seem to be busy,” Nagorski said. “I grew up in the neighborhood of the Roller Garden so I always saw people going there. It’s just sad to see a place that important leave the community.” 

According to Swenson, she’ll miss seeing all the generations of families roller skating at the rink and meeting new people. 

“We’ve made so many friends over the years. When we said in the notice that we’ve watched people grow up, bring their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, that was not just a statement — that was the honest and goodness truth. We get that many generations in here and it’s been such a joy for us all these years,” Swenson said.

Kniser said she is saddened that the younger generation won’t be able to enjoy the Roller Garden. 

“Especially in the past year, I don’t know if a lot of people have really been going there and it’s more going into the fact that the younger kids in our community then people our age,” Kniser said. “It was sort of a common place that a lot of people could really do but the younger kids won’t have that.”

The last time to skate at the Roller Garden will be 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. May 8. Later that evening, those who have been skating at the Roller Garden for 20 or more years will be invited for a private event to give one last goodbye to the rink.