YMCA, others queue up to share plans for 900 Worcester St. in Wellesley

St James The Great Church Wellesley 2012On the same week that Wellesley’s outdoor hockey rinks took shape near the high school, two outfits interested in building indoor rinks at 900 Worcester St., made public pitches.

The 900 Worcester St. Recreation Use Committee on Tuesday held its first of four planned meetings to review responses to the Request For Information (RFI) distributed in September for the 8-acre St. James the Great parcel on Rte. 9 East (You can catch a replay of the Tuesday meeting on Wellesley Media.).  This first meeting included presentations by two of four skating facility respondents: Skating Club of Boston and Wellesley Sportsplex LLC, the latter led by Wellesley resident and land developer Garrett Solomon.

The Skating Club of Boston is thinking very big, looking to develop a three-rink, international level skating complex that would replace its Brighton home and cost around $50M.  This complex would would use all of the site.  One of the rinks would be reserved for Wellesley Youth Hockey and Wellesley Public Schools.  The other two would support Skating Academy, competitive figure skating, speed skating, and other skating activities.  The facility, as envisioned, would also include a 250 person banquet area with a professional kitchen. The Skating Club is also exploring other possible locations for its complex, including through a land deal with Harvard University.

The Wellesley Sportsplex proposal included two rinks, two courts and a turfed field that could be used year-round.  The lead developer from Wellesley is partnering with an experienced sports facility architect from Concord, Mass., and a developer who built and operates multiple rink facilities in the Northern Va./D.C. area, including the Washington Capitals practice facility.   Train Boston would also have space in the facility to provide training for athletes of all ages. Parking requirements are among the lingering questions with this project.

Two more skating facility proposals are slated to be aired on Wednesday at Town Hall.

Next Wednesday, things get even more interesting: The YMCA will present its ideas for a partnership to develop an aquatic facility and more.

The last meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 28,  when respondents interested in developing various bubbled fields/courts for year-round use will have their say.

Residents are welcome to attend the meetings and ask questions, as the 900 Worcester St. Committee aims to issue a request for proposals by mid-year.  With the North 40 acquisition Special Town Meeting scheduled for Jan. 20/21, these meetings with private firms looking to develop recreation resources in partnership with Wellesley are especially timely.