Summit Hill borough has taken possession of the newly constructed recreation center, but it's not quite ready for use by the public.
The center might be used for the Recreation Commission's Easter on the Hill, but "we're not ready to rent it out to other people," said Attorney Joseph Matika, the borough's solicitor.
One reason is that the borough hasn't established who will be in charge of the center. A sub-committee of the Recreation Commission has been formed and will meet on Wednesday, Feb. 17, to discuss the matter, but at the present time there are no rules in place for the center's usage.
The new rec center was discussed during a meeting last night of Summit Hill Borough Council. The facility is located off West Ludlow Street adjacent to the new fire hall.
Monica Marshall, an officer with the Recreation Commission, said the committee organized to take charge of the rec center includes representatives of the commission, the Summit Hill Community Improvement Organization (SHCIO), the Summit Hill Fire Department, and a member of borough council.
Council member Harry Miller, who is a member of SHCIO, indicated he prefers that a commission independent of the Recreation Commission operate the center.
"We couldn't even get anyone to join Rec. How are you going to get anyone to join another commission?" asked Marshall.
Attorney Matika said the borough's ordinance presently states that the Recreation Commission "has the authority to operate all recreational facilities" in the borough.
He said the council could utilize the Recreation Commission to operate the new center or a separate commission could be formed.
The solicitor said he checked with Jim Thorpe borough's solicitor about the operations at Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall and was informed that in that community, officials took the Recreation Commission ordinance and tailored it for the hall.
Council President Joseph Weber said another reason the facility can't be used by organizations is because "right now we have an empty hall and no tables or chairs." Kitchen equipment also has not been installed.
Shawn Hoben, fire chief, said there had been tables and chairs in storage, but Weber said they are in poor condition and the fact that many have no floor protectors on them could potentially result in floor damage at the new facility.
On a related subject, Weber was critical that a church is being converted into a recreation center, stating, "Personally I feel it's a slap in the face to the town and taxpayers."
He said the new community center was built at taxpayers' expense, adding, "I just don't want to see two things cutting each others throats and then both become unused. We are all paying for it," he said, with the latter statement referring to the community center.
Larry Marek, zoning officer, questioned the tax status of the church, noting it might be applied to the tax rolls since it not longer is being utilized as a house of worship.