DEXTER - Some residents want the town to sell part of the real estate it owns to shift more valuation to the tax rolls, but some oppose selling the town-owned skating rink.
The Town Council had planned last week to act on the skating rink property, which borders Church and Spring streets, but it tabled action after members concluded that the move was unpopular.
The property is zoned commercial.
Actually, language in the property deed may prohibit the town from selling the land anyway, according to Town Manager Judy Doore. She has asked for an opinion from the town attorney.
Doore, who is new to the job, told the council that the first words she heard when she arrived in the office was, "Welcome to town and don't sell the skating rink."
That also was the feeling among several residents who spoke against the move at a public hearing held Thursday.
Resident Carolyn Gilbert, who lives near the skating rink, said the recreational facility is much used by youngsters, and she opposes a move to sell it. "There isn't much left for kids to do in the middle of the winter," she said.
"I think it would be a crying shame to have that lot as a commercial lot," resident Janet Guiski said, considering that the Church Street area is residential.
Even if the property were to be sold, Councilmen Fred Sherburne and Rick Goodwin said they were opposed to selling it for a commercial venture. "It's just out of character" for that area, Goodwin said.
Town Council Chairman Peter Haskell said the move to sell the property was based on comments the council had and continues to receive about the town owning too much property.
Town officials have been approached by a person interested in the purchase of the municipal golf course, but they want more information before they act on that facility.
As for the skating rink, Haskell said, it is expensive to make ice for the facility and clearing it after snowstorms, especially on weekends.
"If you're willing to pay, we're willing to do," Haskell told those attending the meeting.
A pond at Dexter Municipal Golf Course on the outskirts of town is cleared and used for ice skating during winter months and the clubhouse is open for warmth.
But some viewed the skating rink as in a critical location children can reach without transportation.
Asked if the town had considered volunteer efforts at the municipal skating rink, Haskell said, "We'd consider anything."
If it turned into a volunteer effort, Doore said, the volunteers would be covered under the town's insurance policy.
Volunteer efforts are great, according to Councilman Fred Banks, but
they have to be organized. He said the supporters of the skating rink
should organize and tell the town what it is exactly that they will do
and then carry it forward.
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