BOWIE, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Construction is now on hold for the planned new Bowie IcePlex.
The city council voted 4 to 3 to stop construction work, citing fiscal issues and long term concerns about the pandemic.
The halting of the complex has caused backlash from some residents.
The original plans called for a 77,000 square foot building with two ice rinks and spectator seating -- a state of the art IcePlex
The facility was being built along Church Road near the Freeway Airport. Construction had just begun back in March.
One councilman proposed building an indoor courts facility at the site instead, but given the financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, the council voted 4 to 3 to scrap the project and instead build an indoor hardwood court complex, which would be far more affordable.
Proponents of this move say it reflects which sports are popular in the area, like basketball and pickleball. Meanwhile, opponents say a new ice complex would've been a gem for the state of Maryland, making Bowie a destination for regional ice skaters and ice hockey players.
“It’s not a black and white thing, it's more about supply and demand. More kids in this city play basketball, they cheer, they wrestle and we have a large senior community that plays pickleball so we need more hardwood floors opposed to two sheets of ice," said Bowie resident Carrie Bridges. 17:26:45
bite from supporter/abby snyder|bowie resident
17:38:24 “I never wanted anything to be taken away from the basketball community, from the pickleball community because I live in Bowie too, I know these amenities are needed. I went to high school here, I know what sports people are involved here, I get it and it’s frustrating that the council put us in this... pitting groups against each other," said Abby Snyder.
FOX 5 spoke with the mayor of Bowie, Tim Adams, who voted to scrap the project.
He says roughly six and a half-million taxpayer dollars have already been spent to buy the land and pour concrete for the project, but that money will not be wasted.
“What we’ve said is let’s repurpose, so instead of breaking ground and using a whole different place, we’ll repurpose having purchased that land and all—we’ll build the courts there," said Adams.
He re-iterated that the ice community will not go unheard and the city's current IcePlex will also receive money for changes and upgrade. Adams believes the coronavirus crisis is not an excuse, but a sign that the city needs to be fiscally conservative.
The vote to end the project will now put roughly $15 million back into the city's bank account.