We know the Town Council began a discussion of the Larsen Rink situation and then postponed more talk on the issue for a future session. To understand the present status of the rink, one has to know the recent history. It was refurbished to the tune of a $1 million project, thanks to the leadership of now-Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, who helped the town obtain state funding for the work.
Everything seemed fine, but there was a problem with the rink surface, which was resolved, but that matter now is in litigation.
It also seems that some are unclear as to why the rink hasn’t generated as much revenue as it could, but the answer to that is simple: Because of the problems with the finished product, the rink has been unable to open on Labor Day weekend and stay open as late as Memorial Day weekend, thus denying the town additional revenues. The rink currently operates from the end of October through the end of April.
In addition, the rink was supposed to be open on a year-round basis, not only for ice time, but for other recreational activities. Parks and Recreation Director Sean Driscoll would love to see the rink open for volleyball, basketball, tennis, and street hockey during the summer months. There could even be indoor concerts at the facility.
We know there is a tremendous demand for ice time on the North Shore. For example, the Marblehead girls hockey program used Larsen Rink for some of their home games this past season.
In this time of financial difficulties, the full-year operation of Larsen Rink has to be a priority and we hope the legal issues will soon be resolved.