By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – New England Sports Management Corporation was granted a modified special permit to build an 88,830-square-foot addition at the New England Sports Center by the City Council at the June 6 council meeting. The expansion at the 121 Donald Lynch Boulevard location will include two new ice rinks, restaurants and 110 additional parking spaces.
The Urban Affairs Committee unanimously approved the master concept plan following meetings with General Manager Wesley Tuttle who agreed to several conditions. They include installing crosswalk markings at the west entrance, improving lighting in the area of the crosswalk, and installing two radar speed signs near the center. New England Sports Management Corporation will also pay $80,000 to the city to mitigate the cost of future upgrades to the sewer pump station at the eastern end of Donald Lynch Boulevard.
“This will be the largest skating facility in North America,” said Councilor Joseph Delano, chair of the Urban Affairs Committee.
The two additional ice rinks will bring the total to eight. Tuttle said that between 3,500 and 4,000 teams hold events at the center and the number continues to increase. They have hosted many major national and international competitions, including Olympic practicing sessions. The Sports Center has locker rooms, a hockey pro shop, a full-service restaurant, snack bar, heated ice viewing area, team rooms, private function rooms and a variety of arcade games.
During a public hearing in April, several local business leaders from the city and surrounding area voiced their support for the proposal, including Greater Marlborough Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Susanne Morreale Leeber, who stated that the Sports Center has been “an economic engine” since 1994 when it was opened.
Among the businesses sending letters of support to councilors were Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc., Residence Inn, Holiday Inn, Best Western Royal Plaza, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Olive Garden. Tuttle plans to start construction in September.