Orbit Skate Center holds final skate

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Orbit Skate Center in Palatine held its final skate Saturday night. (WLS)

Roller skating enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Palatine Saturday to say goodbye to the Midwest's largest skating rink.

Orbit Skate Center closed Saturday after 46 years in business. Owner Sandra Levin said the maintenance costs and property taxes forced her to close.

Orbit offered theme skate nights, skating lessons, and a restaurant and bar.

"This place is really close to me," said skater Max Imzustode. "I've been coming for a while now. It's like a part of me. A part of me is now missing."

Orbit became a popular hangout after it opened in 1972, while its retro vibe gave it an almost cult-like following in more recent years.

"I skate four times a week," said Bill Koutnik. "I go to different roller rinks, but to me, this is where I met a lot of people."

"It's the family atmosphere of all the people who come here," said Rebecca Pope. "There are so many adults that come and we're all a big family. It feels so comfortable and so welcoming to be here."

Orbit has been busier since its closing was announced than it had been in years, according to Levin. She said she views Orbit's final night as a celebration.

"My kids grew up here, my grandkids grew up here," Levin said. "My younger daughter is here with her friends tonight. So it's a special night. It's a special time."
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