Pelham mayor wants changes at Civic Complex

PELHAM, AL (WBRC) - Debate is heating up over the future of an ice rink in Pelham. The mayor proposes converting part of the Civic Complex into a firefighter museum, leaving only one rink in the building for skaters.

Mayor Don Murphy presented the idea to city councilors at a work session Monday night. He said the museum will be a unique addition to the city that will bring extra visitors and revenue to the area.

"We average losing $950,000 a year at the Civic Complex," said Mayor Murphy. "So if I can better that bottom line, that is my responsibility."

Mayor Murphy said Shelby County will help finance the project, so it is low risk for the city.

Skaters disagree and said the change will present scheduling conflicts and safety risks for people who use the rink.

"There are certain activities that can't happen together," said Peggy Schifano. "Hockey can't happen at the same time as figure skating. It's a safety issue."

Others argued the Civic Complex does bring money into the city.

"When we come down here it is an all day event," said Glenn Jason, "We eat in Pelham. We shop, buy gas, buy equipment.  If that goes a way, our dollars go away as well."

Mayor Murphy said the city is competing with Calera to house the museum. The final decision will be made soon.  If it is selected, debate will continue at future city council meetings.

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