City gives rink a triple boost

June 24, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

The financially troubled Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex got a triple boost from the city of Hagerstown on Tuesday.

The Hagerstown City Council voted unanimously to give the ice rink a $225,000 loan, back $250,000 of a separate bank loan and give the ice rink at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds a tax break.

--cont from news--

"I think it's a shot in the arm for the ice rink. It will be self-supporting. It just needs this little bit of help," said Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

No one was available for comment from the Washington County Sports Foundation, the nonprofit group that runs the ice rink.

The $225,000 loan will be added to a $1.2 million loan the city gave the ice rink for construction, said city Finance Director Al Martin.


The added money represents the amount the ice rink wasn't able to raise for construction plus $10,000 to remodel the front offices to allow for a smaller staff at off-peak times, he said.

The ice rink's monthly rent will increase by $1,744 a month to $11,294 because of the new loan, Martin said.

The city also agreed to guarantee $250,000 of a $350,000 bank financing package that would pay off the ice rink's other debts and give it some operating money.

A group of banks - American Trust, F&M, Hagerstown Trust, Home Federal and First United - has agreed to loan the ice rink $250,000 over 15 years and extend it a $100,000 line of credit.

The new financing package will enable the ice rink to buy $25,000 in rental skates, according to the proposal.

Martin said the ice rink also will have money to promote itself.

Bruchey said the guarantee poses little risk to city taxpayers.

"If it did we wouldn't be doing it," he said.

To further help the ice rink get on firm financial footing, the City Council also agreed to waive for five years the ice rink's payment in lieu of taxes for the admissions and amusements tax, Martin said.

That amounts to an estimated $100,000 to $150,000 break, he said.

Martin said the waiver is not unfair to businesses that pay the 10-percent admissions and amusement tax.

"I'm not sure a for-profit business would be able to undertake this type of facility," he said.

The ice rink opened in August 1997 and is open year-round except for the week after Independence Day when the ice is melted and reformed.

The Herald-Mail Articles