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Multipurpose building planned to replace Concord’s White Park skate house

An architect's rendering shows a proposed Ice Skating house to be built at White Park.

An architect's rendering shows a proposed Ice Skating house to be built at White Park. Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

The city’s vision for a new White Park skate house includes indoor event space and an outdoor patio that would allow for year-round use.

In August, the city council accepted a donation from H.L. Turner Group to design a building for the park that would replace its aging and damaged skate house.

Parks and Recreation Director David Gill presented two design options to the city council Monday night. Councilors encouraged Gill to move forward with a 3,000-square-foot design, the larger of two options.

The proposed building would include a great room with tables, seating and a fireplace, bathrooms and a workroom to allow for catered events. Outside, a patio next to the pond would have seating and an outdoor fire pit.

“The current building that we have is not appropriate, it’s not functional in any way possible,” Gill said yesterday. “So looking ahead is the desire to have a nice facility that can be used spring, summer and fall but also . . . as a skate house.”

Gill said the building would be used as a skate house during the winter months, but also year-round as a multipurpose building. Renting the space for special events like business meetings or weddings could also bring revenue to the city, he said.

“It’s going to be a nice multipurpose facility to allow us to do a little bit more for the community,” Gill said.

The existing skate house will likely be demolished, he said. The 1950s-era building is deteriorating, suffers from water damage and does not have working bathrooms. It is now only open during the winter for skate rentals.

Instead of building on the site of the current skate house, Gill said the design team proposed a site next to the parking lot on the other side of the pond.

The new building has an estimated cost of $690,000. Gill said funding will likely come from donations or a public-private partnership, and he’s hopeful construction will begin within a few years. Organizers of the annual Black Ice Pond Hockey Championship have already donated money toward construction.

“I think there’s several partners who are eagerly looking to partner with the city,” Gill said. “And I think once we firm up the budget and cost numbers . . . if the partners come forward, you may see it sooner rather than later.”

The team created to review design options includes Gill, City Planner Gloria McPherson, representatives from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and Friends of White Park, Chris Brown of the Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament and H.L. Turner Group’s Jay Doherty and Bill Hickey.

Gill said the group has held two public meetings, and will have more opportunities for input in the coming months.

On Monday night, Mayor Jim Bouley asked Gill to continue to meet with the public and “build consensus” about a final design.

Gill said he expects to complete construction plans and financing details by the end of June. The plan will go before the city council for final approval.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

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