WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - There’s a battle brewing over broken heat in DC public schools – and the city’s only community indoor skating rink.
The Fort Dupont Ice Rink has had its home in Ward 7 for decades.
Mayor Muriel Bowser had promised $21 million for renovations – but she says she may have to pull the money to make emergency heating repairs in the school system.
The debate came to a head during the polar vortex, when the below freezing temperatures left some school buildings without heat.
Bowser told the D.C. council she wants the $21 million to be part of the $50 million in emergency school repairs.
Supporters of the ice rink – including Ward 7 council member Vincent Gray – say the mayor’s move would be breaking a promise.
They say the ice rink has provided safe activities for 20,000 children, primarily from Wards 7 and 8.
The mayor recently defended her suggestion.
“It's not uncommon that during a course of a budget year we have to reprogram some funds for projects that just aren't ready. So rather than leaving money sitting there doing nothing we will reprogram it to take care of some immediate needs,” Bowser said.
The mayor continued, “So we're talking about when the funds can actually be used and actually we want to talk about the governance of the facility. This is a public D.C. government facility and I'm asking my team if this is a facility we should operate as the Department of Parks and Recreation.”
The issue will go before the D.C. council on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the Washington Capitals have helped raise several hundred thousand dollars for the rink.