Rec. center plan gets final tweaks

JACKSON SQ.—Non-profit developer Urban Edge, along with its development team, has filed a notice of project change (NPC) with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) for its upcoming Jackson Square Recreational Center that incorporates several suggestions from the community to the building’s design.  

The Jackson Square Recreation Center is slated to be built on the northeast corner of the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Ritchie Street. It will be the new permanent home to the Kelly Rink, currently housed on Marbury Terrace behind the Stonybrook T stop.

Community-suggested changes to the recreation center include an elevated walkway above the ice rink; relocating public-use party rooms to the first floor; more bicycle parking; and a central, monitored entrance for greater security, said Katie Provencher, Urban Edge’s director of community engagement, and Noah Maslan, Urban Edge’s director of real estate.

Limited seating around the ice rink and a café/concession stand have also been added, Provencher said. These suggestions all came from a design charette hosted by Urban Edge in February in the Anna Mae Cole Community Center in the Bromley-Heath housing development.

Assuming the BRA approves the proposed changes, the only hurdle remaining for Urban Edge to clear before beginning construction is fund-raising. Mossik Hacobian, recently retired President of Urban Edge, is still involved with the process.

While the state of Massachusetts has approved $5.6 million in a 2008 bond bill, Hacobian said, “We need the state’s commitment to provide the bond.” Another $4 million will come from equity investments.

“Then we’ll need to raise the rest,” Hacobian told the Gazette. He said he expects the capital campaign to launch in June so construction can hopefully start in mid-2012.

The NPC also includes the final design of the Jackson Commons project, a mixed-use, mixed-income development that would include 38 rental apartments, space for Urban Edge’s offices and retailers. Jackson Commons would abut the recreation center.

All changes to Jackson Commons have already been presented to the community, as the Gazette previously reported. The NPC, filed April 11, is merely formalizing the changes with the BRA. Urban Edge is meeting with the BRA on May 2.

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