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Belmont Complex plans ribbon-cutting to show off $2M in renovations

| Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 12:09 p.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Gary Montebell points out some of the major improvments at the Belmont Ice Complex in East Franklin. Thursday December 5, 2013

A series of grant-funded renovations made a 46-year-old recreation facility in East Franklin seem new.

The third phase of renovations in the Belmont Complex wrapped up last month, and officials for the recreation facility plan to celebrate on Dec. 17 and 21.

Officials plan to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony with state Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, on Dec. 17, followed by an afternoon of skating and activities, beginning at 3 p.m. Dec. 21, according to director Gary Montebell.

“It came together very nicely,” Montebell said. “Everybody was very patient, and I'm thankful everyone understood in the long run, this is better for everyone.”

Crews began working on the $2 million renovation in April. It included the construction of a new entrance and foyer, ticket booth, skate shop, concessions stand, a large handicapped-accessible ramp, two updated locker rooms, restrooms, a conference room overlooking the rink and stairways to the balcony overlooking the ice.

It opened up the foyer, near the ticket counter, to allow people to flow more freely in and out of the rink, Montebell said.

Belmont Complex officials paid for the updates with a $1.2 million grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, a $76,800 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Economic Development Initiative and $1 million in grants from Armstrong County, funded by its bond proceeds.

Montebell said the renovations were necessary to bring the facility into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The building was constructed in 1967, and its last renovation was in 1989, he added.

“The key to all of this was bringing everything up to code,” Montebell said.

The current round of grant-funded renovations is the third, with previous work including lighting and dasher boards around the rink and a dehumidifier system.

“We've brought up the environment in the rink to where it needs to be,” Montebell said.

He hopes this round of renovations does not mark the final improvements to the Belmont Complex. He hopes to secure more grants to continue updating the facility and implement a naming rights and advertising plan.

Officials plan to sell the naming rights for the entire facility, which comes with a price tag of $200,000 for a five-year contract. It includes opportunities to purchase the naming rights for the banquet room, which is $10,000, and locker rooms and warming room, for $1,000 each.

The complex offers several advertising options ranging from $250 to $800, Montebell said.

Officials would like to install another changing room, a multipurpose room and four new locker rooms, Montebell said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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