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Bank files foreclosure notice on Pa. ice rink

December 10, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - F&M Trust of Chambersburg, Pa., has filed a foreclosure notice that will put the 2-year-old, $3 million Doris I. Billow Ice Arena up for a sheriff's sale if the rink's board of directors doesn't pay off its $1.4 million loan by Feb. 11, a member of the rink's board said Friday.

Cumberland Valley on Ice, the nonprofit board that runs the rink, said last-ditch efforts to raise money are still going on and that the rink will remain open, according to Carol Henicle.

Henicle, who is also the executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce, led the effort to build the rink in 1997.

"There are some things working," Henicle said.

ERA Real Estate-Penn, the local real estate firm trying to sell the rink, has several interested prospects who would buy it as an ice rink and keep it open, she said. The asking price is $2.1 million.

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"There is a ray of hope, but sometimes that ray does not materialize until the 11th hour," she said.

Henicle said the CVOI board owes the bank $1.8 million, including a second mortgage. Monthly mortgage payments are $17,000, she said.

Robert Crudden, who is handling the account for the bank, said CVOI hasn't made a mortgage payment since late spring. He said the bank and the CVOI board have always worked well together and that the board has made a good effort, "but you can only go so far."

Henicle said the rink has never been able to support itself and pay its mortgage on entrance and rental fees and profits from its store. She also said income from the dasher boards surrounding the rink that display advertising has not come in as expected.

The rink has had financial problems from the beginning.

The rink is named after Doris I. Billow, a local teacher who left $500,000 in her will to build a rink to train figure skaters. The state put up $250,000 toward the construction from a grant secured by State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Waynesboro.

Local fund raising brought in another $250,000, and the Frick Co. in Waynesboro donated the ice-making machinery. F&M loaned the board the rest of the money.

This fall the CVOI board paid a consultant $20,000 to see if the area's business community would support another round of fund raising for the rink. The results were negative so the board put it on the market.

It sits on eight acres on Pa. 16 in Zullinger village, about three miles west of Waynesboro.

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