Community Center Proposed for Site of Old Middle School

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

An artist’s rendering shows what the community center and the area around it could become.

A self-appointed committee of Winthrop residents have come forward to pitch the conceptual idea of the Eruzione Community Center, complete with a new ice rink and housing on the site of the old middle school on Pauline Street.

Tuesday might Mike Eruzione and Joe Aiello gave a presentation to the Town Council to introduce the idea. Eruzione said the plan would be to take down the old school and the Larsen Rink, build a community center, a new rink and four-story housing and retail space on the Walden Street side. There would also be townhouse type housing on the Waldemar Street side of the property.

Inside the community center would be a lap size swimming pool, a gymnasium and offices.

“Kids will have a place to go,” Eruzione said, adding that his daughter works with CASA and having a place to hang out is something young people would like.

“Nothing is cast in concrete,” Aiello said. He suggested that the council appoint a committee to work on this.

Eruzione said he was approached by Council President Russ Sanford about the idea and he is honored to have his name associated with the project.

“Right now no one has come forward with an idea for the property,” Sanford said.

“It’s nice to have my name on a facility but I want it to be something everyone in town is proud of,” Eruzione said.

He noted that the Larsen rink wouldn’t be torn down until the new rink was built and operating. The rink would still be called the Larsen rink. The school would also be torn down first and then an RFP will be put out for a real estate developer.

“We have a concept and idea that mirrors what the town wants to do in the Center,” Eruzione said.

And how would this development be paid for? Aiello explained that a $5 million demolition and site package could be obtained through a state MassWorks grant. The land value for housing is $2 million. Private fundraising could raise $3 million. Another three million would come from a town sourced 5-year capital plan of $3 million. Another $3 million from the state for $3 million. Potentially $5 million from public entities like MassPort and the MWRA. There is no total cost for the project yet.

DPW head Steve Calla said he sees at least a million and a half in infrastructure work that would be needed to support the project.

The next deadline for a MassWorks grant is August 1 and it looks like one of the goals of the project.

The number of housing units has not been determined yet.

Lisa Alberghini who has worked on the Economic Development Citizens Advisory Committee said this plan unlocks the work of the master plan for the Center Business District, economic development and the Transportation Committee.

“Our hope that after people swim or play they will come and use the center business district,” Alberghini said.

The town council will be appointing a committee to work on this idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.