Ice rink may need another loan extension

January 07, 1998

Ice rink may need another loan extension


Staff Writer

The nonprofit group operating the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex might need a third extension to repay a $75,000 line of credit to the City of Hagerstown.

William M. Breichner, chairman of the Washington County Sports Foundation's board of directors and a Hagerstown councilman, said he doubts the foundation will make the March 1 deadline.

City officials, including Breichner, have twice extended the due date for the line of credit the foundation received on Aug. 12.


The line of credit helped pay for expenses the foundation couldn't meet in September and October.

Foundation officials haven't scheduled a meeting with bank officials to get a needed $475,000 loan that would include funding to repay the city, Breichner said.

Gary Wright, chairman of the foundation's finance committee, said he has every intention of making the March 1 deadline.

Foundation officials are going through financial records in preparation for approaching local banks about a loan, Wright said.

He said the process was taking a long time because foundation officials are volunteers who must make time to go through the records.

They expect to present a budget to the board for approval in late January and to meet with bank officials before March 1, Wright said.

Breichner indicated that the foundation's financial records were not in the best of shape before the September restructuring of the board.

Breichner referred to the foundation's earlier method as "shoe box" record keeping.

City Finance Director Al Martin said at that time foundation officials were focused on getting the rink operating. The rink opened Aug. 15.

Board officials have straightened out the records somewhat, Breichner said.

The bank loan is needed to pay startup costs, pay the balance of the rink construction costs and to have two to three months of operating funds as a cushion.

The foundation also must repay a $25,000 line of credit to Hagerstown Trust. The due date on that debt also was extended to March 1, Breichner said.

Martin said the foundation has made its rent payments to the city on time through December.

The foundation must pay interest on the city's $75,000 line of credit as well, Martin said. Interest is about $440 a month, he said.

The foundation also needs to raise funds so it can fulfill one of its main goals - making sure even low-income children can skate at the rink.

Breichner said rink officials have been unable to allow low-income children to use the rink for free or at a reduced rate as originally planned.

The foundation has applied for $15,832 from the Washington County Gaming Commission to buy equipment, said Kathy Sterling, the commission's director.

The money would be used to buy hockey gear, pads to cover the sides of the rink during speed skating and portable storage containers for equipment, Sterling said.

The awards will be announced at the end of January, she said.

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