New recreation center in the works for North Dartmouth

Jul 30, 2020

A large new community recreation center may go up at the corner of State and Reed Roads after the Select Board voted to craft a Town Meeting article selling the land to the Burgo Basketball Association at a meeting on July 27. 

The Association’s founder and president Steve Burgo came before the board to describe his plans for the proposed $6 million facility, which he said would be built on 32 acres of land currently owned by the town behind the uniform store on Route 6.

The planned project would include outdoor fields as well as a large indoor facility with basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, an indoor track, baseball diamond and batting cages, a weight room, a rec room with pool and ping pong tables, concessions stand, conference rooms, and two classrooms.

BBA had previously run into problems trying to build a similar indoor facility at its current 101 Slocum Road location, which it leases from the town.

In 2018, the association was prevented from buying the property after the family of former owner J. Greer McBratney told the town that the donor did not want the Slocum Road property to be sold.

Burgo said that this new project is almost the same as the one he’s been trying to build for nearly ten years. 

“The only difference is now we’ve added a partnership with South Coast United Soccer Club,” he noted.

Burgo said that the new facility will be built with in-kind donations as well as donated funds, and will not replace the current location.

“We will continue to have what we have on Slocum Road,” he said, adding that he envisions a space for kids to be able to hone their skills, and activities to help them stay off the streets and continue their education. 

“It’s all about the kids,” he said. “It’s all about giving them the opportunity...That’s why we’ll have two classrooms for tutoring in the new facility.”

Burgo also plans on including elderly residents and police officers from all over the South Coast, telling the Select Board that he is already in talks with local police chiefs and the Dartmouth Council on Aging to see what programming the different groups could offer.

As for the police, he said, “I want police to be able to come in, take their guns off, put them in the locker, come out and spend time with the kids — show the kids they’re human and the kids can depend on them.”

At the meeting, members of the board voiced their support for the proposal before unanimously voting for town officials to craft an article selling the land with restrictions that the parcels be used for recreational purposes only. 

The article will likely come before Fall Town Meeting later this year.