Aransas Pass residents soon won’t have to cross the Harbor Bridge to go roller skating, bowling or to the movies.
“We’re excited about it,” said Rosemary Vega, chief executive officer of the Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce. “Those are things that our youth can do and have a safe place to go.”
She added, “The hurricane was an awful thing to happen for us along the coast. But, It stimulated a lot of growth (and) some excitement about what our future could look like.”
Many businesses permanently closed in Aransas Pass after their structures were damaged by Hurricane Harvey, which struck the Texas coast in August 2017.
Sk8Land 2 will be located at 1920 West Wheeler Suite A where Coastal Bend Skates formerly was.
CM Lanes will be located at 2285 W Wheeler Ave, which was formerly Sully’s Bowling Lanes. Both former businesses closed due to hurricane damage.
Michael and Victoria Ruiz co-own the brand’s second rink in Aransas Pass with Mike and Raquel Rowland.
The Ruizes have owned the original Sk8Land at 10829 Leopard St. since 2016 and renovated the space when they took over the rink that opened in the early 1970s.
Michael Ruiz started skating at the original location about 35 years ago and always dreamed of owning it. He has wanted to open a second location since he bought one in Calallen.
The rink gives the community’s youth a place to have fun in a safe place indoors, Mike Rowland said.
“Kids that are normally out in the street (will have) a place to come,” he said.
“In the local communities like Rockport … there are not a lot of places where your teenagers and your adolescent kids can go hang out in a controlled environment.”
The Aransas Pass rink will be similar but will have 25,000 square feet compared to 15,000 for the other location. Plans to open the second rink started in January when the building owner reached out to Ruiz.
Sk8Land 2 will offer entertainment and an experience as well as skating with different colored LED lights and a smoke machine, live DJ, arcade games and a snack bar.
“We don’t just let you skate. We make people scream, shut off the lights and do the specialty lighting with a black out,” Ruiz said.
The skating rink will cater to all ages and will be family oriented.
Ruiz said he also hopes to build the CC Speed Skating Team Corpus Christi that his family started in 2017. The team has 13 skaters from 7 to 73 years old. Skaters from the team have placed at the U.S. National Speed Skating Championships.
Sully’s Bowling Lanes was a staple in the community and opened in the late 1960s, said Vega, the city’s chamber CEO.
When the bowling alley closed after the hurricane, the community was negatively impacted because there was not many entertainment options in Aransas Pass, said Chris Coulter.
Coulter started bowling at the alley when he was a teenager and bowled there as part of a league most recently every week.
Now, the rest of the Aransas Pass community bowlers have to drive more than 25 miles to bowl.
Coulter and his wife, Julie, bought the former Sully’s property about eight months ago and demolished the structure. They are building a new 15,000-square-foot bowling alley, which will also have a sports bar, restaurant and private party area.
Coulter also owns Chris’s Marine in Aransas Pass.
“I bowl like three or four times a week, and my kids like to bowl. All my friends like to bowl,” he said. “I want to start (another) adventure in my life.”
He also agrees with the Sk8Land 2 owners that Aransas Pass needs more entertainment venues.
“The more things for people to do out at night and stay out of trouble, the better — keep kids better,” he said. “The less we have to go across that bridge to Corpus the better.”
Coulter’s goal is to have state tournaments at the bowling alley.
The Farnsworth family plans to open a movie theater in early September at 1277 SH 35 in Aransas Pass. The theater will be 20,000 square feet, have six screens and sell beer and wine.
The locally owned theater will be the second Movies Inc. in the area. The Farnsworths opened a four-screen theater in Calallen in May 2014. Mark Farnsworth, 62; his wife, Mary Ann Farnsworth, 56, and their son; Zach Farnsworth, 27, all own the theater and live in Rockport.