Atlantis Skateway closing Aug. 20 after 47 years, but the roller rink’s future could be on ice
Updated: Aug 14, 2022
FROM FIRST DATES and family reunions to birthday partiers and summer vacationers, generations of local roller-skaters have been gliding around the wooden oval at Atlantis Skateway since 1975.
Two disco balls still hang from the ceiling, reminders of how little the popular roller skating rink on Jog Road in Greenacres has changed since its opening during the disco era.
But the days of lacing up at Palm Beach County’s only roller-skating rink are numbered. After wheeling in the years for nearly half a century, Atlantis Skateway will shut down for good after its final day of operation on Aug 20.
“Unfortunately, the time has come,’’ said Britni Murphy, whose parents, Norman and Bonnie Carnell, have been running Atlantis since it opened 47 years ago when Jog Road was just two lanes and the town was called Greenacres City.
Roller skaters glide beneath disco balls at at Atlantis Skateway on Aug. 12, 2022 (Joe Capozzi)
“The cost of doing business has gotten tougher than it used to be, with insurance rates going up,’’ she said, adding that the facility had to be shuttered for a while during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s getting harder and harder for a small family business.’’
Murphy’s family sold the rink in June for $3.6 million, property records show, to the Lodnia Group, a family company based in California with deep ties to professional ice hockey.
The company is owned by Konstantin Lodnia, a former professional Russian hockey player from Ukraine, and his wife, Irina. Their son, Ivan Lodnia, a third-round draft pick of NHL’s Minnesota Wild in 2017, plays for the Chicago Wild, a minor league team affiliated with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
Since 2006, the Lodnias have operated KHS Ice Arena in a 60,000-square-foot converted warehouse with two ice rinks and skate rentals.(KHS stands for Konstantin Hockey School.) The website earlier this month said the arena was closed for renovations and would re-open Aug. 15.
Like Atlantis Skateway, KHS Ice Arena also has a snack bar and offers rink rentals for private events and lessons. But whether the Lodnias convert the old Atlantis Skateway roller-skating oval into an ice-skating rink remains to be seen.
“Right now, we don't know what we are going to do with this property,” Konstantin Lodnia said in a brief interview. “We have a second grandkid and this is where our focus is at this moment.’’
Teyana Pagan (white shirt) and Alexis Bajanea (rear) hand out roller skates to customers at Atlantis Skateway on Aug. 12, 2022 (Joe Capozzi)
Murphy said she hopes the Lodnias bring some sort of skating, whether on wood or ice, to the roughly 24,000 square foot building, continuing its community tradition as “The Original Fun Place In Palm Beach County,’’ as noted on the rink's website.
“It was a fun way to bring cheap family entertainment,’’ said Murphy, whose family owns two roller rinks in Pennsylvania.
“My grandfather Morris Hankey got into building skating rinks and bowling alleys up and down the east from Pennsylvania and New York all the way down to Miami.’’
Britni Murphy greets customers at the entrance to Atlantis Skateway on Aug 12, 2022 (Joe Capozzi)
For now, she said she is struggling with mixed emotions as she prepares for Atlantis Skateway’s final week.
Although the website does not explicitly mention that the facility is about to permanently close, the rink's remaining skating opportunities are listed.
There will be an all-ages skate this Sunday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., an adult skate night from 7 to 10 Aug. 16 and a family night from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 19.
The grand finale is Aug. 20 with a Reunion Skate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. that's expected to attract hundreds of longtime customers.
“Losing Atlantis Skateway is like losing a reminder of what it was like to grow up here in the ‘70s,’’ said Brent Bludworth of Lake Worth Beach.
(1981 photograph in The Post and The Evening Times via Newspapers.com)
“It was one of the few places teens could go to hang out. It was one of the places to be on a Friday or Saturday night for a good part of my middle school years. Lots of memories there with kids I am still friends with today.’’
For the Lodnia family, their decision to purchase Atlantis Skateway came at a difficult time. They are consumed with news about the war in Ukraine where several relatives are fighting the Russian invaders.
Roller skaters at Atlantis Skateway on Aug. 12, 2022 (Joe Capozzi)
Ivan Lodnia’s uncle joined the army less than a week after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. At one point this year, Konstantin considered returning to Ukraine to fight, prompting Ivan to say he wanted to take up arms with his father, according to a story on the Chicago Wolves website in May.
Father and son decided to stay in the United States where they have tried to raise money to support Ukraine, the story said.
Banner from Atlantis Skateway milestone celebration in 2015 (Joe Capozzi)
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About the author
Joe Capozzi is an award-winning reporter based in Lake Worth Beach. He spent more than 30 years writing for newspapers, mostly at The Palm Beach Post, where he wrote about the opioid scourge, invasive pythons, the birth of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Palm Beach County government. For 15 years, he covered the Miami Marlins baseball team. Joe left The Post in December 2020.View all posts by Joe Capozzi.