A large group of North End and Downtown Boston residents showed up at Monday’s meeting of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) to lobby for keeping open the Steriti Rink beyond the winter season.
State Representative Aaron Michlewitz has been working on behalf of the group with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to extend the public rink’s season. According Rep. Michlewitz’s aide, Maria Puopolo, the situation is currently “looking positive” as DCR is completing a report regarding what needs to be done on the property that would normally be performed in the off-season.
Speaking at the meeting was Bill Shultz from Beacon Hill and a parent of a St. John School student. On at typical weekend, “there are 1200 – 1600 people that use the facility,” he said.
Residents made the case for having the facility available nearly year round even when there is no ice. If that is not possible, the group would like to extend the season into the Spring and re-open the rink in the Fall.
In addition to the skating and hockey use, the facility includes two league quality bocce courts that are used by many residents in the community.
Speaking on behalf of the North End Youth Hockey League, Daniel Toscano said they would like the rink to be open longer to expand their team and league opportunities. Council member Jorge Mendoza noted that the Eliot School also uses the rink for the recreation of its students and would like it open for the next season as early as September.
A number of residents pointed to the higher demand as a result of more families staying in the neighborhood. As such, there is more recreational need and interest in sports leagues as shown by the hundreds that now play in NEAA baseball’s little league and soccer. After the 2011 Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup, youth interest has grown in hockey. Many neighborhood kids want to emulate their Bruins heroes that they see living here and visible in the neighborhood.