Braintree's pool and skating rink moved closer to construction, as the special legislation necessary to build them has passed the first step in the State House.
The legislation, which would allow Braintree to enter into a design-and-build contract for both athletic facilities, received favorable recommendation in the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.
From here, the measure will be moved to the House of Representative and the Senate for approval before moving on to Governor Deval Patrick, a process that will local officials hope will be concluded by November.
State Representative Mark Cusack, the Braintree Democrat who spearheaded the legislation, said he was excited the petition had been taken up so quickly.
“This hearing was a vital step in breaking ground on the facility and I’m happy to report that the Committee has acted favorably and voted to advance the legislation,” he said in a release.
The plan is for the town to enter into a design and build contract at one time through a competitive bid. Usually, each part of the process is bid separately. By combining the steps, the town can ensure that a private entity, which would run both facilities, could build it to their own specifications.
State Senator John Keenan, a Democrat from Quincy, testified in support of the project along with Mayor Joseph Sullivan, who was pleased to hear it had moved on to the next step.
“We have taken a giant step towards the building of a recreational pool and skating
rink for Braintree,” Sullivan said.
The basic infrastructure of the project will be paid for by the town with the $1.5 million that has accrued from the money left by Captain August Petersen in 1964 for the construction of a pool.
The town will own the land and lease it to a private entity for 30-50 years. The town would be able to use both facilities primarily for the school and the public.
Officials have struggled for decades to figure out where to locate the proposed pool and how to run it, before the current administration suggested building it at Braintree High School. The idea then was combined with an ice rink, and the special legislation was filed in August.
Although it’s a long time coming, Braintree officials are proud of what is being accomplished.
“For almost 50 years we have discussed and debated what would be the most proper way to honor Captain Petersen’s memory. While his original wish was to have the pool placed at Watson Park, the passage of time as well as neighborhood concerns have made this impossible,” Sullivan said. “However, I feel that having the pool at Braintree High School and housing it in the same facility as a skating rink will be an asset to the town and will be enjoyed by Braintree residents for years to come.”