Club Owner Proposes Ice-skating Rinks The Two-rink Facility Would Serve The Increasing Demand For Ice-hockey Venues, Jim Worthington Told The Newtown Township Commissioners.

Posted: June 24, 1999

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP — Jim Worthington, owner of the Newtown Athletic Club, said he had set aside his plan for an outdoor swimming pool next to the club after realizing that ice hockey was becoming more popular and that there were not enough rinks in the area to support it.

Worthington, who revealed his plans to build two ice-skating rinks on the site to township commissioners Tuesday night, said yesterday that since then his proposal had been drawing praise from people eager to see a new ice-hockey venue.

There are four such venues in the nearby Bucks County area: Grundy Recreation Center in Bristol Borough, Twin Rinks in Warwick Township, the Face-Off Circle in Warminster, and Ice Land in Hamilton Township.

So many hockey leagues vie for a block of playing time that young children are often out at predawn hours and adult teams play close to midnight, Worthington said.

On Saturday mornings, he said, he wakes his 8-year-old son at 5 a.m. and drives him 25 minutes north to Twin Rinks to make a 6:15 a.m. game. ``He falls asleep in the back seat,'' Worthington said.

The tentative plan, which still must go before the township zoning board, calls for a 65,000-square-foot building that would house two rinks. The building would be at the intersection of Penns Trail and Pheasant Run in Newtown.

``There's a great demand for recreational opportunities in our community,'' said Cornell Hopkins, Newtown Township manager.

The township already sponsors recreational activities, ranging from summer camp to cooking classes, that serve about 2,500 residents yearly. Those options fill very quickly, he said.

Worthington said he still hoped to build an outdoor swim club, but was considering other locations such as the Middletown Country Club, which his company just acquired.

He said the Newtown site would be most appropriate for ice hockey since it was near Interstate 95. It will not hinder workday traffic flowing from Newtown Industrial Commons, he said, because commuters will be heading out of town as ice-hockey aficionados are heading in.

``There's a tremendous need for this,'' he said. ``We're so excited.''

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