BOS sends letter to state urging support for Canton rink

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Selectmen called a special meeting on Monday afternoon, February 27, to draft an official letter to Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Leo Roy outlining the town’s argument on why it should receive state approval for a new regional ice rink in Canton. (Read the full text of the letter here)

Metropolis Rink is pictured on the day of the roof collapse in February 2015. (Moira Sweetland photo)

Metropolis Rink is pictured on the day of the roof collapse in February 2015. (Moira Sweetland photo)

Selectmen met Monday to send the letter prior to the March 2 public comment deadline. The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 7.

BOS Chairman Bob Burr said the letter, which has been posted on the town website, signifies why it makes sense for the DCR to locate the rink in Canton and also informs the stage agency that Canton will pursue all legal rights regarding the state’s decision, which is expected to come in March or early April.

The Canton letter, signed by all five selectmen, states there is unified support among all residents for a rebuilt rink in Canton, unlike in Norwood, where some of its own residents have voiced their opposition to the Norwood plan. The letter also asserts that all three of the proposed Canton sites — the current location of Metropolis Skating Rink, the Indian Line Farm site on Route 138, and the DCR property at the former Canton Airport off Neponset Street — are “far better suited” for an ice rink than the proposed Norwood site.

Despite Norwood state Rep. John Rogers’s argument that Canton already has several rink facilities, Canton selectmen note that they are all private rinks and do not provide a long-term subsidized solution to the region’s public rink needs. Selectmen added that Canton has better highway access and is more centrally located than Norwood to other south shore communities.

The selectmen’s letter also states that Norwood’s plan is not “shovel ready” as the town claims and has not received adequate funding or the appropriations necessary to proceed. However, selectmen said Canton has the insurance proceeds (estimated at $3.2 million) from the damages incurred at Metropolis Rink and would be ready to commence “joint funding discussions” with the state should the DCR agree to construct a new rink in Canton. Selectmen also note in the letter that the town has been the “dutiful custodian of this state property and has run the rink in fine order” for the past 45 years.

The letter also states that “Norwood’s now 10-year campaign for its own rink should not be permitted to leverage [Canton’s insurance loss] as grounds for its own claims to a rink.” “Canton officials would certainly not be trying to take advantage of Norwood’s loss if the circumstances were reversed,” wrote selectmen.

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