Harborena Roller Skate rink in Grays Harbor overcomes major obstacles in 2020 and skates to a positive future
For many residents of Grays Harbor, the Harborena roller skating rink has long held a special place in their hearts. Since 1953, the structure has been a symbol of laughter and excitement for all who walk through its doors, but the story could have ended abruptly last year if it hadn’t been for a few dedicated people seeking to preserve inheritance.
Go back a few years and you will discover the story of how the Haborena became in her current loving hands. At the time, Jens Boeholt and his wife Ruth were operating the Harborena and felt a deep sense of connection with the building, as Jens’ father Ernie had helped build the structure decades earlier. After Ruth died and sale signs were displayed on Harborena’s facade, local Jitter House cafe owner Sam Nazario felt a call to reconsider an offer to purchase the building from his longtime friend Jens . After much thought between Sam, his wife Cristina, Landon and Emily Shaw, as well as a plea from the daughter of the Nazarios, the decision was made to bid on the building.
Although the offers came from outside the Grays Harbor area, the final decision was ultimately made to keep the local owners, for which Nazario is eternally grateful. âWe view the purchase as a blessing knowing that God was going to get us out of this business,â says Nazario. “If we hadn’t bought when we did, what would have happened to Harborena?”
Although there was a lot of buzz in the air after the purchase, the timing was far from ideal as the offer officially closed on March 10, 2020. A few days later, the COVID pandemic -19 swept through the world and all plans for renovations and a big reopening party were quickly dashed.
Unfortunately, the initial grant funding was not available for new owners due to their short ownership of the property, but renovations got underway to move the list of items they wanted forward anyway. approach while preserving the original character. âOnce we were officially closed,â explains Nazario, âwe started painting the interior. Our original plan was to fix the bathrooms, but it was an expensive project that required a general contractor. In addition to a new paint job with brilliant black light colors, the Harborena received a major facelift that included replacing fluorescent lights with more economical LED lighting, new plumbing, and a bathroom. renovated party. Plus, as arguably the most important aspect of the Harborena, the original maple floors needed attention. âWe cleaned them up and enlarged certain areas of the floor. Since these are pristine floors without a polyurethane finish, we wanted to maintain that integrity and look good.
The work that has been completed would not have been possible without the help of generous sponsors over the past year including Timberland Bank, B&B Automotive, Sunny 102.1, Derby Laces and ResCom USA Flooring, who recently visited the rink to sanitize the entire space before guests are greeted again. âEverything happens for a reason and we are very grateful to the community,â says Nazario. âWe wouldn’t have survived without their love. We also want to thank the Hoquiam High School classes of 1963, ’64, ’65 and ’66, as well as a very generous local couple who have come together to bless us in more ways than we ever could. never could imagine.
When asked about additional renovations on the agenda, Nazario has many in mind, as well as a few that he wants to keep under wraps for now. âOne thing we really want to finish is installing a new heat source and new insulation to keep the space warm,â Nazario expresses. âThe upstairs balcony will also be cleaned so that adults and those who don’t skate have a comfortable place to sit and watch their children.â
Under state guidelines in effect on February 1, 2021, the Harborena may be opened to a limited capacity, alongside the frequent use of hand sanitizer and the wearing of masks. The ice rink is open to the public and can be rented to private groups upon prior reservation. Opening requirements and guidelines are fluid, so be sure to contact the Harborena before scheduling a visit.
Thinking about the future now that the restrictions have been safely relaxed is exciting for everyone involved. âI recently met an elderly woman who told me that she was one of the first to skate at Harborena,â says Nazario. âShe was so happy to still be able to watch her grandchildren skate and love the rink the way she did. The best part of the whole experience is knowing that the Harborena will be preserved for local families to continue to enjoy.
Watch Harborena’s Facebook page or call them at 360.865.5599 for updates and times as well as new developments on the horizon.