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Couples plan to transform a former road house into an indoor skateboard park

Laura and Adam Kramer along with Brad and Nina Webbles have acquired the former Whiskey Bones Roadhouse at 3820 N. Broadway Ave. with the goal of turning the long-empty, 7,920-square-foot building into an indoor skate park to be called The Garden with its own skateboard gear and coffee shops.

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Laura and Adam Kramer along with Brad and Nina Webbles have acquired the former Whiskey Bones Roadhouse at 3820 N. Broadway Ave. with the goal of turning the long-empty, 7,920-square-foot building into an indoor skate park to be called The Garden with its own skateboard gear and coffee shops.
Jeff Kiger / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Local couples hope to help the Rochester area skateboarding community bloom year-round by turning a derelict former bar into an indoor skate park.

Laura and Adam Kramer along with Brad and Nina Webbles have acquired the former Whiskey Bones Roadhouse property at 3820 N. Broadway Ave. with the goal of turning the long-empty, 7,920-square-foot building into an indoor skate park to be called The Garden with its own skateboard gear and coffee shops. It will also be open to inline skaters and scooters.

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Laura Kramer explained the idea for the project started with their son.

“My son has been skating the last few years and has become obsessed with it. As a mom, I've been watching the community of skaters and I realized what a cool community they really are. They look out for each other. They don't put up with bullying. They're just a good group of people,” said Kramer. “They only have somewhere to skate in the summertime, so we thought this would be a good idea.”

The concept is to support the skate park with admission and membership fees along with sales from the coffee shop and the skate shop.

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Looking for a local home for a year-round skate haven led them to battered and graffiti covered former road house, which has been empty since Whiskey Bones closed in 2015. Others have looked at the property in recent years to possibly house a live theater venue or a day center for people struggling with homelessness, but neither of those proposals moved forward.

While the ex-bar building looks rough today, The Garden group is very optimistic about salvaging it and transforming it into a place for skateboarders to gather.

“While there is a lot of work to do, it has a good solid frame. We've had some skaters go through and take a look.They're really excited about it,” said Kramer. “I think it's a perfect place for an indoor skate park.”

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The Garden Skatepark logo.
Contributed

The skate park group purchased the property for $850,000 on Aug. 7. The hope is to have the park ready for skateboarders by late fall or early winter.

While residents of the very close-by Viking Hills neighborhood had issues with loud music and other problems stemming from Whiskey Bones, Kramer said the park will not stay open too late, and as for the volume of music she is optimistic that noise and music will be kept under control.

“We're hoping that this will be a good, fun and safe place for kids to come and hang out,” she added.

On the issue of the unusual name, Kramer explained that The Garden was sort of a family joke.

My husband and I were talking about building our son a skate ramp at our house. We couldn’t find a good spot to put it. Then it was suggested to put it in the garden and I wasn't real happy with that,” she said. “After that, we always called it (the ramp) the garden. From there, it just kind of morphed a little bit. We decided to take it a little bit farther and it just seemed to work.”

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Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard Around Rochester," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. The opinions of my employer do not necessarily reflect my opinions. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.
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