by Paul Bowers
Hot Wheels Skating Center, a long-running James Island institution, will close its doors after one last all-night skating session on New Year's Eve.
Manager Terri Halter says her family has leased the property for Hot Wheels for about 20 years, but the new owner does not want to renew the lease. (The rink was previously run by different management; county records indicate that it was built in 1981.)
"Everybody wants to know, 'Is there anything we can do?' and there is nothing," Halter says.
The news comes not long after the shuttering of Stardust Skate Center, a North Charleston rink that opened in 1985 and closed its doors this summer. "Their patrons were starting to come to us and really enjoy our environment and our family concept, and then we had to break the news that we're going to be closing," Halter says. Music in Motion, a skating rink in Summerville, is still open for business.
Hot Wheels has been managed for years by Halter and her parents, Sheryl and Art Benton, along with her husband TJ. Halter says the family is looking for property in James Island or West Ashley to re-open the business, but they have not found a place yet.
"My mom's taking it really hard. She's seen probably three generations of children," Halter says. "It's rough, especially when you're that committed to children. You don't want to leave them without a place of security and fun."
Lowcountry Highrollers, a roller derby league, holds most of its practices and some of its matches at the rink. League President Monica Davis describes the rink as "a James Island landmark" and says the Highrollers will be hard-pressed to find a new home base.
"As of right now, we are scrambling to find a place to practice for January," Davis says.
The final all-night skate will start at 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 and end at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1. The final Adult Skate nights will take place on Thursday nights through the end of the year.
"If you haven't been in a while, come," Halter says.