The Star Ballroom in Monterey Park, the site of a mass shooting that occurred earlier this year, may be on the brink of closing for good.
The dance studio’s owner told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that she has “almost” made up her mind on not reopening the business.
Though renovations have started at the location, Maria Liang told the newspaper she would be open to offers from possible buyers, but she hasn’t had any offers to take over the business.
Liang said it’s been “difficult” to return to work where a gunman fatally shot 11 people on Jan. 21., at the start of the Lunar New Year.
The victims were elderly dancers and included the studio’s original owner.
Liang told the Tribune that a month after the massacre, she issued nearly 300 refund checks to people who had paid for group classes or access to the community dance studio.
The studio opened in 1990. It soon became more than a place for dance classes. Many went to the ballroom for decades and formed tight-knit bonds.
News of its potential closing brought mixed reaction.
Yan Yang danced there many times and would like to see it open again.
Others, like Liang, said it’s still too painful.
“I think people are still avoiding this place, and driving around just to not see it unless you really have to do something in this plaza, unfortunately,” Kristie Hang, a friend of one of the victims, said. “I think maybe it will become a yearly memorial when it comes up to the one-year anniversary, but for the most part, I don’t think there’s a way to salvage the plaza.”
Similarly, Thomas Wong, Monterey Park’s mayor pro tem, said there is still a lot of unease around the space.
“I think that will be here for a long time still,” he said. “We’re working as a city to help encourage people to come back to this neighborhood, at least to support the other businesses that are here, to bring healing, and to do what we need to do to make this space something that people can continue to use in the future.”
Wong added that if the dance studio permanently closes, the city will work with the building owner to identify potential options for the future space.