Ice skating and hockey will remain at Bowman Field for at least the next 30 days.
A preliminary injunction hearing in Lycoming County Court was scheduled Friday morning before Judge Richard A. Gray that sought to prevent the Naples, Maine, company that provided and installed the ice rink from repossessing its equipment for alleged nonpayment.
The nonprofit group Williamsport Ice Arena, which manages daily operations at the rink, asked the judge to stop Rink Specialists from shutting down the ice chiller and related equipment. Benn Breton, company president, said last month that the nonprofit group is holding back almost $48,000 for services provided and expects another almost $150,000 on top of that.
Although the hearing never took place, attorneys representing both sides concluded behind closed doors in the judge's chambers that Rink Specialists did violate certain terms of its contract with the nonprofit group.
Specifically, the contract states that disputes are to be brought before an arbitrator and that 30 days notice should be given, which apparently did not happen.
Gray also indicated that attorneys for Rink Specialists were not immediately prepared to repossess the equipment.
The nonprofit group asserts that it was given equipment that was in poor condition, including an ice resurfacer, skates and the rink assembly itself. That's why the group has withheld money, according to Norm Snyder, rink manager.
"We gave them a sizable down payment," he said. "We deserve a refund on the down payment."
Snyder said what the nonprofit received from Rink Specialists was not what it expected.
"It was supposed to be all new stuff," he said.
He added that it has been difficult for the nonprofit to operate successfully under the fear that "at any given time the rink would be closed" by Rink Specialists.
"They were breaking their own contract by threatening to shut down the rink," Snyder said.
Snyder and the nonprofit's attorney, Cory Mowery, said they consider Friday's turn of events as a success that may allow the two parties to eventually come to an agreement on the conflict.
By allowing the rink to remain in operation, public skating, community hockey leagues, Williamsport Outlaws professional hockey games and the Federal Hockey League's Jan. 2 all-star game are likely assured to continue until Jan. 20, 2013.
Austin White, a city attorney representing Rick Specialists, said he could not comment on the matter or speak for the company.
Attempts to reach Breton were unsuccessful.