Palatine skating rink, largest in Midwest, to close after 46 years

PALATINE, Ill. (WLS) -- At Orbit Skate Center Palatine, it seems like everything is in motion: from the disco ball, to the wheels on the countless roller skates, to the skaters themselves, ranging from regulars with advanced skills to others who are rusty at best.

But at the end of the month, Orbit will close its doors for good after 46 years in business.

Owner Sandra Levin says the rink is a casualty of high maintenance costs, and aggressive property taxes.

"If I could have moved this rink 5.5 miles to either Lake or Kane, we would still be open," said Levin.

But in a few weeks Cook County will lose yet another roller rink, and Orbit is the largest in the Midwest.

It's why skating enthusiast John Price came here all the way from suburban Milwaukee.

"I'm glad I got here but I'm really sad that it's closing," said Price.

Over the years, Orbit has been a second home for skaters, and it's brought many of them together.

"I feel really sad because I met friends and met my girlfriend here," said Antwane Carson.

Pamela Pace has been coming here since it opened in 1972, and is not sure where she'll go when it closes.

"First time I put on skates was here and i loved it ever since," said Pace.

Levin says a sense of community is what's truly special about Orbit.

"I know that we've provided memories for three generations. We've had birthday parties, fundraising parties. We've raised money for everything from AIDS to homelessness," said Levin.

On Orbit's last day, which is March 31st, they're having a going out of business bash starting at 7, where skaters can stay as long as they want.
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