November 17, 2012

Skating Rink

Been reading about this alot.     The idea of the colleges getting together and pooling resources to build a skating rink is not a bad idea..   Take a look at the rinks in Marlboro.   Six skating rinks constantly rented out, imagine how many people go there that end up shopping somewhere else on Solomon Pond Road???

I will admit, however, the more I look at it -- I am not too sure about the library parking lot.   What about Wyman Gordon Parcel or South Worcester Industrial Park??  

As far as a office/retail building in the library parking lot?  Just do not think downtown Worcester has a need.    The other day I was in the Harvard-Pilgrim offices at Harrington Corner.  The offices are amazing!!   Other then that the rest of the building is pretty much empty and there is already alot of office space and retail space already available downtown.

Bottom line the colleges wanted to build a skating rink should be supported, but lets find another location. 


Nicole said...

Bill -- those of us who have been monitoring this for months have mentioned Wyman-Gordon (and have been told it costs too much), the land [owned by the Krocks] on Park Ave near Walgreens and Foley Stadium (and told they would never sell), Diamond Chevrolet, SWIP, etc. The WBDC remains fixated on the library lot, which is too small and does not work.

The reason why -- I believe -- is that they think they can get the land for cheap or free, and that the presence of the cheap municipal surface parking lot directly competes with their plans for a private garage.

What disappoints me most about the master plan as I saw it was that there was very little market-rate (or other) residential included in the plans. I personally feel redeveloping the lot to include a municpal parking garage, and market-rate residential, with retail at street level, would be ideal.

I could go on further, but I have already on my blog.

Bill Randell said...


We need market rate housing desperately downtown but don't think downtown right would support it right now. We have to hope City Square and then reliable commuter service to Boston happens then it may be a great spot,

All the above parcels you mention may be too expensive, but the South Worcester Industrial Park is owned by the City of Worcester?

I know there will be some on the South Worcester Industrial Task Force, the same who want Pharmaspere, will say no. But why not??

City can actually donate the land and teh colleges can build the facility which has easy access to the highway.

Bottom line is that it would bring people into the City who can then spend money on Shrewsbury Street or anywhere else.

I vote for South Worcester Industrial Park. BTW , the Boys and Girls Club and the new fields that Clark are building are one block away.

David Z. said...

Aren't we trying to bring people DT? That is why the WBDC pitched the idea on behalf of the colleges.

David Z. said...

And doesn't the WBDC proposal include building a 4 story residential building on the old T&G parking lot? This is a lot of housing to go with the Mayo Group housing.

Bill Randell said...


Good points

All I am saying is that we own SWIP and people going to a skating rink are not that far from downtown/canal or shrewsbury street


Jahn said...

Bill, I agree with you. If the library lot is now under utilized (I assume), a hockey rink is not the best & highest use for that land right now and if City Sq comes through as is hoped for, then a hockey rink is definitely not the best use for the library parking lot I also agree with SWIP as a possiblity, but I also could see the colleges opposing that general area.

As to Wyman Gordon, what if they dont want to sell? Will we end with an eminent domain case going the highest court in the land.....a la New London, Ct? If it did come to the city taking it how would they argue that it's for a public use when colleges probably dont even want to pay RE taxes on it nor would they want to make it available for public (free) use.

If the colleges want to build an ice rink, HC and Assumption may have lotsa land available and HC is truly right off the highway, even more so than SWIP.

Maybe I am forgetful here but if the hockey rink draws big game day crowds, where does everyone park? RMV lot? Garage Majal? Whats left of the old Worc Center garage? Would a shuttle service be needed from other far away parking facilties?

However, Bill...please....the city DONATE the SWIP property to the colleges...mi amigo, surely you jest? This aint Downing St :) We donate to many services to them already

What about the old UNUM site? Not flat enough for a skating rink? The airport is very flat and very, very underutlized.

Nicole said...

It should be noted that it is not "the colleges" en masse that want this, it's Worcester State and Assumption and Worcester Academy. Holy Cross would not be part of this, from what I have heard.

To Dave Z.'s point -- yes, this was sold as "bringing people downtown." However, I don't understand how two colleges that do not have powerhouse hockey teams are going to spur the kind of economic activity they are talking about.

At the meeting the other night, Roberta Brien said that the WBDC thought just renovating the Hanover would spur economic development in that part of downtown. That obviously did not happen.

The vast majority of activity in this (or any) hockey arena complex is practice, which requires parking close by (as players hauling gear don't want to haul it two blocks, which is what the WBDC plan essentially means).

From an urban design perspective, it makes no sense to put in one more large, blank box in the middle of Worcester.

Jahn said...

Imagine if St Gobain and David Clark companies said they wanted to build an athletic complex with a pool, an indoor track, exercize equipment, etc and they were liking the lieberry parking for a site and THEn they hinted they'd like the land on the El Cheapo.


Why just b/c you're a non profit
entity do you get such special considerartion from some of these people who run the city, Well one reason is b/c others see what The Hand It Over Theatre got from the taxpayers ($32.8M) and now all the other players want a piece of the city for free.

And worst of all a hockey rink is being built for those who dont pay taxes for those who are only transients here for 8 semesters ( 32 months at best) and then they are gone.

The dirt bike riding crowd would like a nice dirt track to race their motorcycles on and not only do their parents pay taxes to Worc, live in Worc, and send their kids to Worc schools but the dirt bike racing demographic consists of many more people then the College hockey demographic.

To hell with the sense of entitlement that these large non profits have who are flush with billion $$$$ endowments and lotsa $55,000 per year students.

Jahn said...

Nicole, you raise some good points/issues.

I meant to add to my last response, imagine if we swapped out Worc Acedemy wanting the rink and replaced it with a charter school in Worc wanting the rink.

Cant u imagine the heat in the city council chambers on Thursday night over the unmitigated gaul and nerve of the charter school asking for help with a rink. EAW would be 3,000 members strong on city hall plaza the night that item made it to school committee floor. All those $17,000 per school year teachers aides with 17,000 benefits packages would be enraged !