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Commissioners vote to help youth league

October 08, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

A 600-member youth athletic league on Tuesday got closer to finding a facility to hold its sports activities, but the final decision hinges on PenMar Development Corp.'s board of directors.

The Washington County Commissioners voted 4-0 to agree to a five-year sublease that would allow the Chewsville, Smithsburg, Leitersburg Youth Athletic Organization (CSL) to use the vacant gymnasium at the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base.

But for that to happen, PenMar must agree to lease the gym to the County Commissioners so the commissioners then can sublease it to CSL.

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PenMar was created by the state in 1997 to redevelop the former base, which the Army shut down in 1998.

CSL President Carrie Gouff approached the commissioners about the matter after PenMar turned down a request by CSL in February to lease the Cascade property directly from PenMar.

CSL would pay the commissioners $1 a year to sublease the gym, county officials said Tuesday.

"I'm very excited," Gouff said Tuesday night. "I'm just glad that things are moving."

PenMar Chairwoman and spokeswoman Paula Lampton did not return a phone call placed to her home Tuesday.

Under the sublease with the commissioners, CSL would be responsible for upgrades to the gym and making the facility handicapped-accessible.

Commissioners James F. Kercheval said he hoped CSL would be reimbursed for repairs if the lease was terminated a few months into its term.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook asked that such a provision be included in the lease.

Gouff said last month that CSL used several Washington County Board of Education facilities for sports functions, but that the School Board's decision to start charging hourly fees was making it hard to continue using them.

She said the School Board's rates probably would cause CSL to raise its sports participation fees to cover the charges. The participation fee for basketball already has been doubled to $60 per child, Gouff said.

She said the increased fees have raised some complaints from parents, who say they no longer can afford to have their children play sports in the organization.

Gouff said she hopes to hold basketball and wrestling events at the gym in November.

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