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Council, Mayor review ice rink

April 20, 1999

Faced with paying off the debt for the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex, the mayor and City Council plan to review the city's role in, and the financial status of, the ice rink.

On Tuesday, city officials reviewed the proposed $114,000 subsidy for the ice rink, which is part of the proposed $64.8 million city budget for the 2000 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

City Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein asked city staff to look into alternatives for ownership and management at the ice rink.

No one here expected we would be paying for this, Saum-Wicklein said.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said he was "very frustrated about this."

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner questioned the popularity of the ice rink in relation to the taxpayer subsidy of its operation.

"I wouldn't fund a pool that was used by 10 people," Metzner said.

The ice rink opened in August 1997, and is operated by the Washington County Sports Foundation.

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The ice rink has had a couple of good winter months, but overall the rink has not been able to pay its bills.

In February, foundation chairman Gary Wright said it probably would be two years before the rink breaks even for the year.

Bruchey said he and council members should meet with foundation officials after city staff return with recommendations on the ice rink.

- Dan Kulin

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