Resident asks township to buy ice rink

June 03, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A Zullinger, Pa., businessman who was defeated in his bid for a Washington Township Supervisor seat in the May primary, asked the supervisors Monday to consider bidding on the Doris I. Billow Ice Arena building when it comes up for auction next month for use as a new municipal office building.

Jeff Zody, who also lives in Zullinger, told the supervisors that the auction may present the township with a chance to get the property at a good price.

The $2.8 million rink, which opened in December 1997, closed in May 2001 when it ran out of money. F&M Trust of Chambersburg, Pa., which holds a $1.8 million mortgage on the building, foreclosed on Cumberland Valley On Ice, the nonprofit board that owned the rink, in May 2001.


The property, including its 8.25 acres, is on Pa. 16 in Zullinger. All that remains is an empty shell. The bank sold all of the equipment inside.

A Maryland auction company has been hired by the bank to sell the property July 9.

The supervisors last month, bowing to heavy opposition from residents, dropped plans to build a new township office complex on the Shank Farm off Country Club Road. The board had moved to take the farm, which has been in the same family for seven generations, by eminent domain. The plan, part of an overall proposal to build a bypass around Waynesboro, drew a public outcry.

"You guys are looking to expand," Zody told the supervisors. He said the vacant ice rink would give the township space to combine all government functions into one building.

Zody said he had no mandate from his neighbors in the township's west end, where the ice rink is located, to move the municipal center there.

"Some people don't want you guys out there," Zody said. "They say, 'leave them where they are.'"

Township attorney John Lisko said the law requires the supervisors to have the building appraised before they could bid on it or buy. The law also says the township can't pay more than the appraised value.

The supervisors would also need a plan in place before they could buy it, he said.

"You guys got 37 days (until the auction)," Zody said. "A lot of things can happen in this township in 37 days."

Supervisors Chairman Paul Benchoff said after the meeting that the ice rink building would be big enough to hold the municipal offices "at first."

He said he would oppose putting it in the rink, which is in a residential area. The existing facility is also the site of the township's vehicle maintenance garage and salt storage area.

"I'd hate to see that in a residential area," he said.

Benchoff said the supervisors have had no discussion on the rink property.

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