2012-02-02 / Front Page

Bath council nixes board for armory

BY BETH BROGAN Times Record Staff

BATH — The Bath City Council on Wednesday voted to rescind a December ordinance creating a board of directors to operate the city- owned former National Guard Armory building — the future home of the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark.

In December, councilors approved relocating the skate park to the armory, and paying $308,000 to upgrade the building. On a motion by Councilor Kyle Rogers, the council also created a board of directors to oversee the building.

But in January, Councilor Mari Eosco — who opposed the December decision to create the board — proposed rescinding the order, arguing at the time that the December motion by Rogers to create the board was a “surprise,” and that councilors were not given enough time to consider the proposal. Discussion continued at a subsequent workshop.

On Wednesday, Eosco said she remained convinced that the board “is not necessary,” and that if the Bath Recreation Department was assigned to oversee operations at the armory, the council “would still have the option to pull back and reconsider (a board of directors).”

Two councilors who initially voted in favor of the board said Wednesday that they had since become convinced it was unnecessary.

Steve Brackett said the board would be “a needless level of bureaucracy.”

Meadow Rue Merrill concurred, adding that her initial vote was cast out of concern for maintenance of the building.

“That still is a concern of mine,” she said Wednesday, but added that City Manager Bill Giroux can set lease and rental rates, “which I do think we need to prepare everyone for … but I think that all can be handled by our city staff.”

Merrill urged the Recreation Department “to make the skate park a facility that represents the best we have to offer.”

Councilors voted 6-2 to rescind the order creating the board of directors, with only Rogers and Councilor Ruthe Pagurko opposing.

Councilor Sean Paulhus recommended that the council continue to monitor the Recreation Department’s management of the armory, and Councilor Andy Winglass said the skate park’s board and Recreation Department “ should be given certain marching orders.”

Claire Berkowitz, chairwoman of the skate park board of directors, said the skate park opened in the old YMCA building when it was already “dilapidated,” but that since the city became involved with managing the program, “we had a vast improvement, and that would be the tone we set in the new building.”

“I think it’s clear to me and other councilors that we need more oversight,” council chairman David Sinclair said. “ We need to be proactively managing rather than passively receiving news (about the skate park).”


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