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City Council, hockey association working on ice complex deal

September 20, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

The City of Hagerstown could reach an agreement with the Hagerstown Youth Hockey Association that would allow association officials to continue operating the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex until at least mid-June.

Association officials on Tuesday discussed the proposal with the Hagerstown City Council, whose members agreed to have the contract drafted for review during a later session.

The agreement would let the association continue to operate the complex from Oct. 1 to June 15.

During that time, the association would hold learn-to-skate programs and schedule times for hockey leagues and figure skaters to use the ice, said Jeff Barbour, president of the Hagerstown Youth Hockey Association.

According to the agreement, the city would continue to pay about $90,000 a year for utility costs and about $114,000 a year for the next five years to satisfy a loan that city officials incurred to help finance the complex's construction costs.

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Barbour said he plans to raise most of the revenue to operate the complex by charging customers for ice time.

To save money, the complex would open only when there would be a need to use the ice, he said.

"(The complex) is going to be much more efficiently run," he said. "We can't see having volunteers or employees there if there's not a demand."

The youth hockey association began operating the city-owned complex in August, when the contract of the complex's former operator, the Washington County Sports Foundation, was terminated by Hagerstown city officials.

In August, Britt Miller, president of the Washington County Sports Foundation, said it became increasingly difficult to generate enough revenue to keep the complex going.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh encouraged Barbour to aggressively market the complex to ensure its success.

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