For now, DC Council won’t vote to criticize diversion of ice rink funding

WASHINGTON — D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will pull from Tuesday’s Council agenda the vote on a resolution targeting the mayor’s plan to divert funding from Fort Dupont Ice Arena renovations.

Muriel Bowser has proposed redirecting funds for it and other projects toward school repairs and maintenance, a move that has drawn criticism from rink supporters.

“I’m confident that this can get worked out, that the mayor will come up with a plan for how she can restore the money after this fiscal year,” Mendelson told WTOP.

Fears that diverted funds would not be restored had prompted the disapproval resolution, introduced by Ward 7 Council member Vincent Gray. That vote will be pulled from the agenda, he said, for now.

A meeting will be held Wednesday between the mayor’s office and representatives for the rink, Mendelson said.

“I will promise that there will be an additional meeting in two weeks, so that if things don’t get worked out, the disapproval could come before the Council then,” he said.

Bowser has proposed redirecting $50 million from various projects, including $21 million from the Fort Dupont Ice Arena, to help with school repairs and maintenance — in particular to heating-and-air-conditioning units and roofs.

The money for renovating the aging ice facility was not expected to be spent this fiscal year, he explained, and the school work would be for this fiscal year.

“But the mayor had not proposed restoring the money after this year,” Mendelson said, “and that’s where the discussions are occurring.”

Bowser’s plan had enraged rink supporters, who contend that renovations are long overdue.

“We shouldn’t be pitted against D.C. Public Schools, which is, unfortunately, how the mayor’s office has been spinning this,” Tomeka Gueory of Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena told NBC Washington.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to the report.

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