Save Youth Hockey In Massachusetts sign now

We the undersigned, as concerned Residents of the City of Cambridge and the State of Massachusetts, hereby support the attached Petition Paper, and hereby request that all State Senators, all State District Representatives, the City Councilors of Cambridge, and the City Manager of Cambridge, please know that we desire you to introduce and/or support legislation aimed at:

I. Enabling the City of Cambridge to purchase and/or lease the Gore Street Simoni Rink from the MDCR without restriction and operate for the long-term benefit of the people of Cambridge and surrounding communities.

II. Restoring the necessary funding to allow the MDCR to open all of the MDC rinks by October 1st as they traditionally have been.

Thank you for your immediate attention to these matters.

May 2004
Dear Residents of Cambridge; Position Paper on Gore Rink & MDCR

We are parents, relatives, and friends of children and teens who participate in Cambridge skating, recreation, and hockey programs at the Gore Street Simoni ice rink in Cambridge, MA. The Gore Street rink is one of the states oldest public rinks, and is the City of Cambridges only public skating rink. Cambridge has a long tradition of skating, dating from Colonial times. Cambridge is also the home of the nations oldest skating club.

Now, however, we have serious and urgent concerns about the future of the Gore Street Simoni Rink.

First: As part of a broad initiative to downscale, outsource, or privatize state government, the Mass. Department of Conservation & Recreation (MDCR)* intends to close, lease, or privatize many of the states public recreation facilities. As a result, unless the City of Cambridge exercises its right of first refusal to buy or lease the Gore Street facility from the MDCR, it will inevitably be sold or leased to private developers or rink operators.

Second: For several years now, Cambridge residents have been concerned about both the deteriorating operating conditions and diminishing hours of operation at the Gore facility. However, under a current House FY 05 budget proposal, state legislators are contemplating an additional 12\%13\% cut to the MDCR budget (after the 18\% cut made in FY 04). Under this new budget proposal, many of the surviving MDC rinks, including Gore, will need to curtail their operating seasons by as much as two months. Such a delay would be a severe setback for our children and teens, and the recreation and community programs in which they participate.

Under virtually every plan we have studied, the impact of the sale or lease of the rink to private interests would be a major setback for the entire Cambridge community. It would result in, (1) severely restricted hours for public skating, youth hockey, and figure skating programs, (2) severely reduced hours for school programs (i.e., CRLS), (3) substantially increased admission and ice fees, which would push skating and hockey out of reach for many Cambridge families, (4) make it difficult for Cambridge teams and youth programs to remain competitive with other youth leagues and programs, and (5) the elimination of rink concessions which provide critical scholarship funds and operating income for all of the citys youth hockey programs.

We strongly believe that the right solution is for the Commonwealth to allow the City of Cambridge to either buy the rink from the MDCR or lease and operate the facility without restriction for the benefit of the people of Cambridge and the surrounding communities.

We also ask our legislators to ensure that, if the MDCR is still operating the rink in the fall of 2004, the rink be allowed to open at least in the first week of October, as it did in 2003. This plan would allow the rink to be closed in September, which we understand has been a financial burden in the past because of warmer weather and the age of the facility.

With these goals in mind, we urgently ask Senate President Robert Traviglini, all State Senators, all State District Representatives, the City Councilors of Cambridge, and the City Manager of Cambridge, and all of our other city and state representatives to introduce legislation to make such a purchase or lease possible. We further urge the Councilors and City Manager of Cambridge to undertake such a purchase or lease as soon as permitted, to ensure that the 20042005 year is not lost to all the citizens of Cambridge.

Many politicians, legislators, and city representatives have said that the City of Cambridge does not want to assume the financial or operational responsibility for this facility. We, however, do not believe they are reflecting the will of Cambridge residents. We believe that with proper vision and resources, the Simoni Rink (strategically placed in the heart of East Cambridge, an area already in the midst of significant redevelopment) could and should be revitalized to become an integral and valuable asset to the city. If neighboring communities such as Watertown, Belmont, and Arlington (with populations and tax bases substantially smaller than those of Cambridge) can manage to operate thriving community skating facilities, which offer an invaluable family-oriented public service, then with proper vision and leadership, so too can Cambridge. It is not acceptable for Cambridge residents to hear our officials say that they dont want the added responsibility. The Simoni Rink should be viewed as a valued Cambridge resource, not a burden, and should not be allowed to pass into private hands.

Please support us, and your community, by signing and circulating the enclosed petition to our state and local politicians, representatives, and managers. Tell them that we feel that the City of Cambridge needs to protect and preserve our skating heritage and this valuable Community resource for many generations to come.

Thank you.

Concerned Residents of Cambridge
Cambridge Youth Hockey- Board of Directors
Cambridge Girls Hockey Program
Cambridge In House Hockey Progam
Cambridge Learn to Skate Program
Massachusetts Hockey District 10 Commission
If you have any questions regarding this petition, or would like to get involved in assisting this cause, please call 617-864-9747.

**The MDCR was formed in July 2003 through the merger of the Massachusetts District Commission (MDC) with the Massachusetts Department of Recreational Management. According to Senator Therese Murray, chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, the MDCR and its predecessor agencies have lost 28\% of their operating budget and 14\% of their staff since FY 2002, with the current House budget proposing to cut the governors funding by another 16\% for the upcoming FY 05 budget, all of which will lead to the sale or closure of many pools, rinks, and other recreational facilities.

Please also make your voice heard by writing to or calling any of the following City Councilors, City Officers, State Representatives, or State Senators. They can be contacted at:

Robert Healy City Manager 617-349-4300
Michael Sullivan Mayor 617-349-4321
Marjorie Decker Vice Mayor 617-349-4325
Tim Toomey City Councilor & State Rep. 617-349-4280
Anthony Gallucio City Councilor 617-349-4280
David Maher City Councilor 617-349-4280
Kenneth Reeves City Councilor 617-349-4280
E. Denise Simmons City Councilor 617-349-4280
Henrietta Davis City Councilor 617-349-4280
Brian Murphy City Councilor 617-349-4280
Anne Marie Paulson State Representative 617-722-2140
Rachel Kaprielian State Representative 617-722-2430
Paul Demakis State Representative 617-722-2460
Bryon Rushing State Representative 617-722-2637
Alice Wolf State Representative 617-722-2380 Robert Traviglini State Senator 617-722-1500
Steven Tolman State Senator 617-722-1650
Jarrett Barrios State Senator 617-722-1280

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Haley CollinsBy:
Transport and infrastructureIn:
Petition target:
City Councilors & City Officers of Cambridge, MA and Massachusetts State Representatives & State Senators


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