North side couple putting plans into place for roller rink

May 20—WATERTOWN — Plans are rolling on to covert the former North Side Improvement League into a roller skating rink.

Jessica Vrooman and her husband, Kenneth, are working with the city's Code Enforcement office on their plans to open a roller rink in the vacant building on Mill Street.

They submitted plans for the project into the code enforcement, while the office is reviewing them, code enforcement supervisor Dana P. Aikins said.

"I think there's a lot of excitement about it," Mrs. Vrooman said.

The couple will lease the former improvement league building from developer Jake Johnson, who's getting the building ready for the couple's construction company to create the skating rink.

The building, vacant for several years, needs to undergo some interior renovations, she said.

Mr. Johnson's company is creating restrooms, working on the heating system and other interior work.

The couple will install the roller rink's hardwood floor and concession stand.

She believes the skating rink will open in the fall. The rink will be named North Side Skates.

Mr. Johnson purchased the building in December from developer Michael E. Lundy for $357,000 and was seeking proposals for it.

Mrs. Vrooman and her husband, who live a couple blocks from the North Side Improvement League building, knew it was available and thought it would be the perfect place for their plans.

Mrs. Vrooman remembers hanging out at a roller rink on Mill Street back in the 1980s.

The Vroomans and their three children, ages 13, 17 and 21, all have a passion for roller skating, she said.

Roller rinks were big a generation ago and are making a comeback in other cities, Mrs. Vrooman said.

The most recent roller rink was in a storefront in Northland Plaza on the city's east side. It closed about 10 years ago.

The rich history and legacy of civic involvement and community betterment of the North Side Improvement League spanned more than a century. In its heyday decades ago, the league had 1,600 members and played a crucial role in the city's politics.