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Bid to buy skate rink gets reprieve

April 15, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A West Chester, Pa., consultant trying to raise $700,000 to save the Doris I. Billow Ice Arena avoided yet another date with the auctioneer and got another two weeks to come up with the money.

F&M Bank in Chambersburg, Pa., which holds a $1.8 million mortgage on the rink, has given consultant Curt Baker two more weeks, until April 28, to raise enough money to bring the mortgage current.

At last check, Baker said, he had more than $500,000 in pledges from potential investors.

He said Friday a new agreement has been reached with the bank but there wasn't enough time before the Sheriff's sale, which was scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m., to seal the deal.

He said he couldn't elaborate on how the latest agreement would be set up. In an earlier deal, which Baker said is no longer on the table, he was to set up a real estate holding company to assume ownership of the rink from Cumberland Valley On Ice. The nonprofit board owns the $3.5 million ice rink on Pa. 16 in Zullinger.

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Baker convinced the CVOI board in early February to accept his offer to try to raise $700,000 that would bring the mortgage up-to-date with a $480,000 payment and use the rest to start up a new online ice-rink managing firm he plans to call ISK8.

The money would come in as investments into his new company with the idea that investors would eventually realize dividends.

The rink is named after the late Doris I. Billow, a Waynesboro area school teacher who left $500,000 in her will as seed money for an Olympic-size skating rink. It has been in the red since it opened in December 1997.

Money to build it also came from a $250,000 state grant and a similar amount in local donations. The lion's share was mortgaged by F&M.

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