Legendary Springfield, Mo., roller rink to close

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - In the Queen City of the Ozarks, there is a special place where Olympians are made. Before speed skater Emily Scott skated on the ice of Sochi, she fell in love with inline skating at Skateport in Springfield, Mo.

Emily's niece Kaitlyn Scott spends her Friday nights on the same wooden roller skating rink where her aunt took her very first laps.

"Without this place, Emily would not be in the Olympics right now," Kaitlyn said. "This is where she started. This is where she grew up and that's how she's going to the Olympics."

Emily's family has touched almost every inch of the Skateport rink. Her father, Craig Scott, even spent weeks laying down the shiny wooden floor.

"We started with one little slat and I can't tell you how many more thousands of them," he said.

The small Springfield gem is filled with dozens of young kids with big dreams just like Emily. But these ambitious kids are taking their final laps at this legendary landmark.

"My mom skated here, my grandpa skated here my step dad skated here. Everyone in my family has pretty much skated here and to know that it's closing down really does hurt my feelings," Kaitlyn said.

According to Skateport owner Ted Hall, Skateport will close June 1, 2014. Hall said he doesn't plan to reopen at another location.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is expected to expand a road to resolve traffic issues in the area. The road will run right through the Skateport rink. For those who grew up in the area, the new path will take away an important piece of history in the Springfield community.

"To have your home taken away from you, you would not be a happy person I don't think," Hall said, who opened Skateport in 1977. "I've made a lot of friends. There are a lot of kids that I've grown up with here and it hurts."

Skateport has provided a unique place where many Springfield families have created lasting memories.

"To see my own children having fun and learning to skate and just having a blast, eating the same kind of food we ate and playing the same games. It just reminds me when I was a kid," Springfield mother Hannah Davis said.

While the end is bittersweet, the spirit of young champion Emily Scott still lingers in Springfield, pushing younger generations to go for the gold.

"She really has inspired me-- to know that she's going to be in the 2014 Olympics. It's really amazing and someday I hope that I can be just like her," Kaitlyn said

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