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Youth association seeks to use borough hall gym

Published February 25. 2011 05:00PM

A Palmerton youth organization has pleaded its case to once again utilize the borough hall gymnasium as a practice facility.

Several handfuls of members of the Palmerton Youth Basketball Association met with borough council on Thursday to seek permission for use of the gym for basketball practice.

Kyle Kratzer, a member of the organization, asked council if it would reconsider its stance, and said there are over 200 kids involved in the organization spread out over 23 different teams and volunteer coaches.

"We would like to try to figure something out," Kratzer said. "Our organization needs the facility for practices on weekends, and it would be a great help for our organization if we had this facility for the children of Palmerton."

Tammy Suto, a member of the organization, acknowledged that while there was a recent incident that involved a coach who left several children unsupervised, there has never been any issues with the children themselves.

Further, Suto said that in the event any damage would ever be caused to the gym, the association would do whatever it could to rectify the situation.

Suto questioned whether the prior incident was "such a big issue."

"We lost that, and it hurt our kids," Suto said. "The kids don't have too many places to go. The facility is a great asset to our program."

Council President Terry Costenbader said that council was aware of the last situation and took the proper measure to address it.

"I think that if your group wants to sit down here with the committee, (and) if you can come up with something, that's one thing," Costenbader said. "We're not here to play some game; we're not here to hurt the children."

Costenbader told Suto there have been "a number of infractions" over the years.

Councilman Randolph Gursky noted none of the children caused any of those infractions, to which Costenbader agreed.

Suto said that while a mishap did occur, she hopes it won't continue to affect the children and their ability to use the gym.

"It was an error on our coaches behalf, and we take full responsibility," Suto said. "My main thing is we don't lose it for the organization."

Costenbader said his biggest concern is that when there's an agreement on paper that's been signed, those rules must be adhered to.

Councilman Kris Hoffner said he believes an agreement can be reached.

"I think that something can be worked out," Hoffner said. "We definitely don't want to hurt kids."

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