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New rules to be written for S. Hill building

Published July 30. 2010 05:00PM

To date, just one formal event has been held at Summit Hill's new community center and already the rules for utilizing the facility need to be changed.

Members of Summit Hill Borough Council said there are several problems with the current regulations.

For one thing, the rules say that the entire borough council must approve use of the building. This means that it would not be available for a funeral dinner since the council meets just once a month.

Another problem is that the rules don't address allowing non-profit groups such as Scout troops to use the buildings for meetings without assessing a $25 per hour fee. Council members feel that non-profit groups should be allowed to use the building without charge, unless they are holding something such as a banquet.

Monica Marshall, president of the Summit Hill Recreation Commission, is currently in charge of renting the community center. She's serving on a voluntary basis.

She asked council to give a zumba instructor permission to hold free weekly classes in the center.

Marshall said only a few people attend the classes, currently held in St. Joseph's Church, making it financially unaffordable to pay an hourly fee at the center.

"We do want to use the building," she told council.

Councilman Bill Chapman indicated he's concerned that allowing free use of the building for anyone other than non-profit organizations will set a precedent.

"We have to draw the line some place," he said.

There also was some question raised about what happens to the funds charged for using the building. Marshall said the money charged to the group which recently rented the building has been placed in the recreation commission's bank account. Council members said the funds should come to the borough, since it is the borough which is responsible for such things as heating costs, maintenance, and repaying the loan on the structure.

At a meeting earlier this month, Marshall said there is a request for use of the building by Girl Scouts.

"Do we charge a rental fee?" she asked.

Marshall also told the council that there have been other requests for groups to use the building, such as for aerobics and yoga.

"In my opinion, $25 for that hour isn't worth it," she said. "My opinion is the building is there to be used."

"The intention isn't to make money," said council member Michael Kokinda. "But we don't want to lose money, either."

Marshall said regarding allowing groups to use the center without charge, "It's not a difficult thing."

"It is a difficult thing," responded Councilman Michael Alabovitz. "Where do you draw the line?"

"You figure it out as you go along," said Marshall.

Some members of council suggested that a three-member committee be placed in charge of approving the use of the building instead of requiring the full council to give approval. This way if a request was made for using the building, it wouldn't have to take a full month to receive approval. Only two of the three members would have to give their okay.

Several months ago the council came up with guidelines for use of the building and gave them to the borough's solicitor, attorney Joseph Matika. He drew up a user agreement along with fees. This was approved by the council.

The council said it will discuss the matter further and invite members of the recreation commission, Summit Hill Community Improvement Organization, and Diligence Fire Co. No. 1 to participate in the discussion on the new rules.

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