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Regional Report: IROC Closes Down

A popular recreation center in Derby closed its doors earlier this week.

The Indoor Recreation Center of Orleans County, known as IROC, shut down after along effort to save it from foreclosure. But, in the end the Community National Bank took over the facility, months after IROC stopped paying the mortgage.

The facility opened in 2005, with construction debt it was never able to pay off.

Robin Smith has been covering the story, for the Orleans County Record, an edition of the Caledonian Record, she was there when the facility shut down.

It was sad, a couple of kids were coming out of the pool, a young man lifting weights and a woman who was the last employee in the door with her children walking out and locked the door, a little girl said, 'bye IROC,' it was sad, Smith said.

Smith says there was a bit of controversy when IROC opened. The facility was discussed for many years a recreation facility with a big arena, walking track,community center and an ice arena. But the committee decided over time they couldn't figure out a way to fund the ice area.

But for so many people in the community that was the whole purpose for IROC. They wanted that arena so badly. And when they said, 'no, we're going to have apool,' actually two pools, some supporters turned away because they put money into it and love it for what they thought it would be and then it became something else, Smith explained.

Local hockey teams practice in Stanstead, Quebec and at Jay Peak resort, but there is no local hockey arena, and crossing the border creates problem for opposing sports teams.

They opened with some debt, but then the financial plan never came to be. They had hoped for sports leagues, but that never materialized, and people don't use the facility in the summer, so IRCO didn't sell as many memberships as they thought they would.

Supporters hope that someone will buy IROC from the bank, and without debt the facility might have a better chance of survival.

Right now, the facility is closed and the bank has hired a company manage the facility. It needs $150,000 worth of maintenance.

But Smith says people who loved IROC, including a local swim teams and basket ball leagues, as well as people using the indoor walking track in the winter, are saddened by the loss of the facility.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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