Parks Board unveils plans for town recreation center

Mar 27, 2018

After years of work and requests by residents, the Parks Board unveiled its plans for a town-owned indoor recreation center at its March 26 meeting.

At the meeting, Parks Board members laid out a conceptual site plan for the recreation center on town-owned land in between the Dartmouth Youth Activities Association and the current police station, but funding has not been determined yet for the project.

It would include a 280-by-104 square-foot indoor facility the length of four basketball courts for various sports including basketball, indoor soccer and indoor field hockey, among others. It would be adjacent to one of the baseball fields.

It's a vision ten years in the making. Steve Sousa, a Dartmouth resident, came forward with the idea and started a plan. However, without the necessary funding needed to build and maintain the facility, the plan was put on the back-burner.

The plan recently came to fruition again after the Burgo Basketball Association approached the Select Board asking to build an indoor facility on its leased land during its March 5 meeting.

Steve Burgo wants to build a $6 million center which would initially house indoor basketball courts, a gym, a weight room and a track. However, there were legal issues regarding the proposed property.

Members of the Parks Board remained firm on their stance that if a center was to be built, it had to be on town property and run by the town.

With the plan still in the design stages, the Parks Department hopes to draw up cost estimates before bringing the plan before the Select Board.

Parks and Recreation Director Tim Lancaster said once costs are figured out, the department will look at getting funding from the town, grants, youth leagues and fundraising or a combination of all three. With the center, the town could consolidate all of the current facilities being used into one place.

Board member Sherri Tetrault said the facility is something the town needs.

“We need something and we’ve been talking about this for a long, long time,” Tetrault said. “We need something for the youth.”