State lawmakers have filed a home rule petition that would streamline the bidding process for a recreational center in Braintree, taking a big step toward construction of an ice rink and the long-delayed Petersen Pool.
State Senator Brian A. Joyce, state Senator John F. Keenan, and State Representative Mark Cusack filed the motion last Thursday for the plan, which would the request for proposals to encompass the design, construction and operation of the center. The legislators said this system would ensure that the project will be done efficiently, on budget, and without major issues between engineer and contractor.
According to Cusack, the whole concept has been a long time coming.
“As someone who grew up traveling to neighboring communities for youth hockey practices and games, and someone who is well-versed in the 48-year saga of the Petersen Pool, I am happy to file this legislation for the construction of this recreational facility,” he said in a release.
Captain August Petersen - a tugboat captain on the Monatiquot River - had bequeathed money to the town upon his death in 1963 for a pool to be built in East Braintree.
Heated opposition from residents about the pool’s location created a standstill for the past 40 years, while the money has since accrued interest.
The plan to relocate the pool project to Braintree High School was approved by the School Committee in December for use of the land. Town Council subsequently approved the idea of a home rule petition for the renewed RFP plan on July 19.
The idea is to lease the town-owned property for any time up to 50 years. The town would also donate the $1.5 million of the accrued $1.9 million from the Petersen Endowment while the developer will incur the remaining costs.
The end result will be a pool and rink that would give first priority to the students and the public without burdening the town financially.
“This recreational center will improve the quality of life, not just for the students of Braintree High, but for all the citizens of Braintree,” Joyce said.
The rink and pool would be added to the two turf fields currently in the process of being constructed at Braintree High School, creating an entire athletic complex for half the cost.
“The Town of Braintree has always put a priority on providing quality recreational facilities and programs for its residents,” Keenan said. “This new complex promises to be a wonderful asset for the town, its residents, and its athletic programs.”
According to Cusack, as soon as the legislation is signed into law, Braintree officials will release the RFP for the design and construction. Officials are hopeful that the RFP can be released in the fall.