The Strawbery Banke Museum has raised $10,000 to defend a proposed ice skating rink in downtown Portsmouth.
The museum expects to spend $25,000 in legal fees as it takes on opposition from 16 individuals in the Strawbery Banke neighborhood. Those neighbors, concerned about traffic, noise, and lights, are disputing zoning variances granted by the city’s Zoning Board. Jeff Keefe calls himself the project’s “voluntary chairman”:
We’re really trying to now pull together the details, so we can deliver a plan and a venue to the community that is well within city ordinances, and also protective of the neighborhood.
Keefe says the rink itself will cost far more than the lawsuit: at least $250,000. So far, the museum has contracted with a volunteer electrical engineer and lighting designer. If the lawsuit goes their way, Keefe says, the skating rink will open in December 2014.