My Letter to the Editor of the Milton Times regarding the future of the Ulin Rink in Milton

To the Editor,
There is a great deal of misinformation concerning the state’s Ulin Rink. Here are the facts:
In fiscal years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, I passed legislation in the Senate that would have forced the state to offer the rink to the Town of Milton. The FY06 Senate budget, for example, required the state to offer Ulin to the town for up to 25 years at $1 per year. Unfortunately, none of these measures were supported by the House of Representatives.
Such a long-term lease for a nominal fee could have earned the town hundreds of thousands of dollars, while ensuring sufficient ice for the Milton High School girls and boys hockey teams, public skating, and for Milton Youth Hockey.
Recently, the Patrick Administration issued a RFP for the operation of five rinks, including Ulin, for a five year period. Those RFPs reference language that I helped author in 2005, which gives the municipality in which the rinks are located a right of first refusal. The RFP does not contain the language from prior bills that I offered that would also give preference to a non-profit in the town, such as Milton Youth Hockey. I did get assurance from the Administration, however, that the town could exercise its right of first refusal, yet delegate management to a non-profit or to a professional rink management company.
The RFP does contain language that I drafted in 2004 making clear that public skating, non-profit youth groups like Milton Youth Hockey, and school hockey groups like Milton High School, must receive priority in the allocation of ice time, irrespective of who operates the rink. There are no such protections for Milton’s youth under current law.
Finally, when residents suggested a need for additional time to evaluate the RFP, I requested that the DCR extend the time within which town officials may evaluate the RFP. I have been assured that the town will receive additional time, certainly until May 3rd, possibly until June 1st.
It is my sincere belief that the Patrick Administration’s plan, to allow the Town of Milton, perhaps in partnership with local non-profits or with a professional rink management company, to take over operation of Ulin Rink, affords the town an opportunity to protect the interests of Milton’s young skaters, and the interests of our taxpayers.
Any resident with questions concerning my support for Governor Patrick’s plan that protects both Milton’s rink users and the state’s taxpayers, or on any other matter, should call me at home at 617-696-0200.