Mayor reconsiders plans for ice rink

PELHAM, AL (WBRC) - Pelham's mayor has backed off a controversial proposal to bring a firefighter museum to the  Civic Complex.

At Monday's city council meeting, Mayor Don Murphy pulled the item off the agenda. And instead, he asked for opponents to work with him to find a compromise. He said the change in heart occurred after he received hundreds of calls and emails from angry residents.

"I'm reaching out to you," said Mayor Murphy. "I tried to talk to some of you and you didn't want to talk. You didn't want to listen. I'm here to work with you if we can."

He originally proposed putting the museum in the main arena at the complex, and leaving the practice rink. He said the facility has been losing about $950,000 a year for the last 13 years. A museum would bring in revenue. However, he is willing to listen to all ideas.

Opponents have argued that losing one of the two ice rinks in the facility would complicate scheduling, and force the University of Alabama hockey team out of the facility. They said the change would impact hundreds of hockey and ice skaters who rely on the facility for practice time.

"It doesn't help us at all," said University of Alabama hockey player Kory Sweatt. "It would be hard to move program, we have a great fan base here."
"It's about the kids," said hockey coach Todd Chamberlain, "We think the right decision to keep complex as is."

Mayor Murphy has encouraged anyone with ideas and suggestions to call or email him.  He is hoping to set up a committee to find the best way to deal with the situation, and is hoping to devise a plan quickly.

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