The Benson Ice Arena is going to be torn down after being damaged by snow and ice four years ago. The city says it would cost millions to repair. Demolition could start by the end of March.
Neighborhood residents have fond memories. “Benson Park was the first skating rink I ever went ice skating at, the first one I ever skated on,” says Brandy Beckwith.
“It was always crowded, a bunch of people down there, it was good to see other kids my age,” says Amber Venters. “Obviously, that was years ago."
The city plans to replace the rink east of North 72nd Street and Military Avenue with outdoor facilities. “We have a new master plan for Benson Park that would put at least $500,000 back into the park this year with some great improvements to the trail system, the parking system, the cooking pavilion, fishing pond area and playgrounds and other improvements,” says Omaha City Councilman Pete Festersen.
Amber and Brandy believe the rink means more than money. "I think kids need ways to stay healthy and fit and it’s just sad, another piece of Omaha history disappearing.”
“We talk about trying to get kids off the streets and the gang-related and helping north Omaha, well you're just taking another thing away from kids to go do."