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Gym schedule is in county hands

Richard Fulton

(4/17) Requests received by Emmitsburg to change the gymnasium use policy of the gymnasium located in the Community Center will have to go through the county channels, not local government.

The town offices were moved to the county-owned Community Center after vacating the town-owned offices formerly located at 22 East Main Street, and the gym is located within the center.

Commissioner Jennifer Mellor told the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners at their April 7 meeting, "I received an email…about a group that wanted to use the gymnasium for soccer…(She) was told since she did not make a reservation for the gym use six months in advance that it was not available to her."

Mellor said she was also approached by Catoctin Lacrosse to use the gym and "they had been told the same thing by the town office."

The commissioner said she would "like to explore the possibility to open the gym up for people who want to use the gym in less than a six month notice" so that the facility could be used by a team that suddenly finds it cannot use an open field due to inclement weather, or other adverse factors.

However, Town Manager David Haller stated the six-month notification requirement was a county policy. "I would call the county commissioners and tell them you want to change it. It came from their staff. I personally don’t have a problem with whatever. I think you need a fixed policy."

Current policy requires applicants for the use of the gymnasium to have a six-month (in advance) meeting and application process, according to most interpretations, but Commissioner Christopher Stagier said the (county) policy appears to (also) suggest that "somebody can call up and reserve the space if it is not already reserved on a first-come-first-served basis (unless the party intends to reserve the gym for more than eight days)."

Haller said, if the existing policy allows for short–term notice and use, "it’s not going to happen in one night (in any event). It comes here, they fill out a form, it’s got to go to the county and be approved there."

Mayor Donald Briggs said he did not object if the commissioners wanted to approach the county to refine or clarify use scheduling for the gymnasium.

"This ‘problem’ is only two and a half years old. We have over 200 kids using the gym now that never did two and a half years ago. We just want to make sure the residents are served," the mayor stated.

"We’re up (for) anything. If it gets the youth off the streets and in here to do things we’re 100 percent," Briggs said.

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