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New ice skating facility coming to Palm Beach Gardens

The $40 million project will include 2 ice hockey rinks, restaurant, sports bar, retail store, training space, academy space and medical space
Rendering of Palm Beach North Athletic Foundation's ice skating facility in Palm Beach Gardens 04052024.jpg
Posted at 12:36 PM, Apr 05, 2024

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The Plant Drive skate park where Josh James said he has landed countless 360s, caught air and hit long grids on the pegs will soon be gone, as the city of Palm Beach Gardens makes way for a new ice skating facility.

"This has been my home for the past 15 years," James said. "That's kind of bittersweet, especially for everybody around here. I was just riding, and I use it quite frequently."

The $40 million project will include two National Hockey League-size rinks, a full-service restaurant and sports bar, retail store, training space, academy space and a medical space, the Palm Beach North Athletic Foundation said in a news release Friday.

Rider Josh James shares how he has been riding at Plant Drive skate park for years April 5 2024.png
Rider Josh James shares how he has been riding at Plant Drive skate park for years.

According to the nonprofit organization, philanthropist Larry Robbins and NHL legend Wayne Gretzky will lend support to the project to expand ice sports in Palm Beach County. The rinks will be utilized for youth hockey, figure skating, public skating, adult leagues, curling and sled hockey.

"There's no need for these roller rinks presently," Michael Winter said. "There's a softball field here and beyond that, there's a skate park and two basketball courts."

Winter, founder and president of the Palm Beach North Athletic Foundation, is leading the project in partnership with the city of Palm Beach Gardens. The city voted in favor of the project and a 40-year lease agreement during a council meeting on Thursday.

Palm Beach North Athletic Foundation founder and president Michael Winter April 5 2024.png
Palm Beach North Athletic Foundation founder and president Michael Winter explains how new facility will benefit the Palm Beach County community.

According to Winter, support came quickly for the project.

"The concept was like a snowflake that turned into a snowflake that became an avalanche," he said.

In addition to the ice hockey rinks, the foundation said it plans to develop a world-class, indoor ice skating facility for people of all ages and abilities.

"The primary focus is youth of both hockey and figure skating," Winter said. "We're going to have enough ice for adult leagues and public skating."

Marc Morely explains how the new facility will benefit his family as they currently drive 40 minutes to get to a rink April 5 2024.png
Marc Morely explains how the new facility will benefit his family as they currently drive 40 minutes to get to a rink.

It's a dream come true for the Morley family who spends a lot of time at the current rink they go to in West Palm Beach. Marc Morley said his family goes three times a week, either for hockey practice for their boys or ice time for their two girls.

"It's a huge commitment for our family," Morley said. "We do have a 40-minute drive to the current rink, which the new rink will cut it down to 20 to 25 minutes.

The foundation said it plans to break ground on the new state-of-the-art ice skating facility later this year or early 2025.

It is anticipated to open in the summer of 2026.