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City Council OKs ice rink lease

July 22, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Council members unanimously approved an emergency ordinance Tuesday night activating a 20-year lease agreement for a local nonprofit group to operate the ice rink at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds.

The emergency ordinance was required because of the rink's anticipated opening on Aug. 15, said City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman.

Normally, it takes an ordinance 30 days from approval to take effect, but city and rink officials didn't have that much time, said City Clerk Gann Breichner.

The lease wasn't ready for a vote earlier because city officials were waiting for Washington County Sports Foundation officials to meet certain conditions, including raising their share of the project's cost, said City Finance Director Al Martin.

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Foundation officials have raised most of their share, coming close earlier this month, Martin said.

As of early July, foundation officials had raised $1,092,537 of their $1.1 million share of the $2.3 million rink.

With approval of the emergency ordinance, the lease went into effect, Breichner said.

It takes at least four council members to approve an emergency ordinance, she said.

Approving the lease were council members William Breichner, Susan Saum-Wicklein, Lewis Metzner, J. Wallace McClure and Alfred Boyer.

Martin said some details of the lease remain to be clarified. The foundation has nonprofit status, but it must be determined whether it has the proper nonprofit status to allow it to use a facility financed partially with tax-exempt bond proceeds, he said.

The foundation will pay the city rent of $9,550 a month for 15 years to pay off the principal and interest on the city's $1.2 million share of the rink's construction. The payments will enable the city to repay the bond issue used to help finance the rink's construction.

After 15 years, rent would be reduced to $1 a month.

After the lease expires, the foundation will have two five-year options it could exercise if it wishes to continue operating the rink. Eventually, the rink would revert to the city.

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