Town Kick-Starts Rink Project With Temporary Building Committee And $250K

Photo: A conceptional design of the new Belmont Skating Rink by the architectural firm Perkins+Will

With new predictions the current skating rink is on its last legs and with $250,000 of state funds to facilitate building a replacement facility, the Belmont Select Board appointed members of a temporary committee – dubbed the Preliminary Rink Design Committee – to jump start the planning and design of a new rink a good half-a-year before a permanent committee would be named at Town Meeting in May.

The idea behind the interim panel “is to get started on preliminary rink design … and start to execute on the $250,000 that was provided to us by the state,” said Mark Paolillo of the Select Board who sits on the Skating Rink Financing Committee which is formulating a plan to pay for a single sheet of ice that will come with a $20 million price tag which was the estimate from a concept design from Perkins+Will.

The last month has seen the rink project spring to life. That wasn’t the case this past May when town officials convinced resident Alex Corbett to remove a citizen’s petition amendment at Town Meeting to begin the
formal building process by establishing a committee as it was putting the cart before the horse as the town did not have the available money.

But with a committee up and running to derive areas of founding the project and $250,000 on the table, the town has decided to push and push hard on getting the design process underway.

The major move in the comes after Town Facilities Director David Blazon reaffirmed what has been known for more than a decade; the nearly half century old building is within a couple of years from seeing its mechanicals and infrastructure collapse for a final time.

The goal of the temporary committee is to hire an architect to produce a 30 percent design document which defines the major design elements of the project and refine the project’s scope, schedule and budget that the project
design team can commit to delivering to the building committee.

Since a full-time building committee can not be formulated until the town moderator Michael Widmer appoints the members at the annual Town Meeting, the town was facing a six month delay before using the funds earmarked two weeks ago.

“It’s a committee to move this forward with the money we have so it stays on track,” said Select Board Chair Adam Dash. “So rather than lose time between December and May that we can get this [process] moving.”

And the Select Board is striving to have at least a 30 percent design plan completed to present to Town Meeting as a report.

The temporary committee is made up of four members of the Rink Financing Committee and three from the Permanent Building Committee with Pat Brusch as chair. The group includes former Select Board Chair Tom Caputo, youth hockey supporter Frank French, Jr., the School Committee’s Meghan Moriarty, former Belmont High Boys’ Hockey Coach Dante Muzzioli, current Boys’ assistant coach Bill Shea, Steve Sala and former Belmont High Girls coach Mark Haley.

The first meeting of the new temporary committee will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16 on Zoom.