We members of RINC (Recreation in Norwood Committee) want to thank all the Norwood residents who turned out on October 1st to have a conversation regarding a future skating rink in Norwood. We particularly want to thank the South Norwood Committee for hosting our meeting that night. As many in the community already know, our RINC group has worked for several years – and has conducted an exhaustive site search – to find a home for a skating rink in Norwood. With guidance from professionals in the rink building industry, rink architects, consultants from the State’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and with the conceptual approval of both boards of Selectmen and School Committee, we have now concluded that the best location for this rink would be at the Coakley Middle School in South Norwood. There are many reasons for this specific site recommendation, but ultimately, there are two: lowest cost, best and most accessible location.
Though we have broad support from the community, we recognize that the proposed site will not be embraced universally within Norwood. Some have suggested that there are only a handful of hockey players who would use this rink facility. Not true. There are 400 boys and girls skating in the Norwood Nuggets youth hockey program, with another 60-75 skating at the JV or varsity level. Add those to the thousands of adults in Norwood who have played and who love the game, and dream of seeing their children and grandchildren play hockey in a Norwood skating rink. All we ask is that each Norwood citizen go through the “due diligence” process with us, consider the findings of an impending South Norwood rink feasibility study (which will incorporate a traffic study) and draw your own independent conclusions about building a rink in Norwood. From our perspective, we hope that Norwood voters heed the messages of well-respected Town Meeting members who spoke at the October 1st meeting: Norwood has never been guided by the concept of NIMBY [Not In My Back Yard] when making important decisions that impact the whole town. And great opportunities benefitting the entire community should always trump personal interests. We agree. Make no mistake: this proposed rink is a great opportunity; a rare and precious gift ($5.6 million) from the state that if turned down by the town of Norwood will simply go to another community. Our sense is that if this window of opportunity closes, no rink in Norwood will ever be built. This would be the ultimate tragedy for a town whose citizens have such a passion for skating and hockey.
Many folks, some of whose families have lived in Norwood for generations, continue to work tirelessly to deliver a skating rink to the Norwood community. Included in this group is RINC chairman Matt Brown, who recently visited Governor Patrick to personally thank him for agreeing to fund a rink in Norwood. Anyone who has lived in the town for more than a minute is well aware of Matt’s passion for skating and hockey in Norwood. Let’s be clear: within this group, the one man who single-handedly made the $5.6 million state gift possible for Norwood is Representative John Rogers. He has spent countless hours setting up meetings and securing funding for what has, over the last several years, become a labor of love for him. Representative Rogers partnered with us in this Norwood rink project years ago, and was instrumental in guiding the YMCA toward a lease agreement with the town of Norwood back in 2006. His support for RINC is limitless, unwavering and enduring. Quite simply, without the efforts of John Rogers, there is no rink opportunity in Norwood today. Mere words cannot begin to express our gratitude to him. Our conversation with the Town of Norwood regarding the proposed skating rink will continue in the days and weeks ahead. Please join us in that discussion!
Matt Brown – RINC Chairman
Mike and Susan Brown