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'Funding issue' puts synthetic ice rink on hold

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

A proposed synthetic ice rink in Scott Township will have to wait at least another year.

The Scott Board of Commissioners removed the rink from its final 2013 budget proposal in its meetings in late November.

“It's a funding issue,” township manager Denise Fitzgerald said. “What it came down to was we had more repairs that were necessary over in the park, and we felt that we needed to fix the equipment that we have before we go and try investing in something new.”

The rink, which would have been built in Scott Park, had an estimated cost of between $370,000 and $400,000. Instead of putting that on the budget, the board of commissioners elected to approve repairs to the front basketball and tennis courts at Scott Park. The project, which involves the complete resurfacing of the courts, will cost an estimated $125,000.

Eileen Meyers, chairperson of Scott's parks and recreation committee, said she hopes to begin the resurfacing project in the spring and finish it before the summer recreation program begins.

“If we have enough money to start it then, we'll do it,” she said.

Fitzgerald said the board considered those fixes to the basketball and tennis courts during the 2012 budget process but decided to hold off. That changed this year, mainly because the cracked condition of the courts became a safety concern.

“We can't let somebody get hurt on them,” Meyers said. “It's only understandable to take care of the stuff you have first and then start something new.”

While it got held this year, Fitzgerald said, the synthetic ice rink still is in the township's plans.

Officials will spend the coming year gathering information to apply for a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant, which could fund up to half of the project.

While Fitzgerald says she's optimistic the DCNR would approve such a grant request, she doesn't want to get too far ahead of herself.

Meyers said she thinks there still is interest in the synthetic ice rink in the community, and she hopes the project will make it onto the budget for 2014.

“We're still hoping,” she said. “It's definitely not a dead issue, just for this year.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or dgulasy@tribweb.com.

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