Rec & Park Perspectives: How Should a $2 Million Bequest Be Spent?
Larz J. Anderson was a longtime Marblehead resident who passed away in 2003. He should not be confused with the other Larz Anderson, who lived several generations earlier and was an American diplomat and the namesake of the automobile museum in Brookline.
Marblehead's Anderson created a trust that included a philanthropic bequest to his hometown, in a document that specifies that the money should be used “for recreational purposes,” and should be administered by the Marblehead Recreation and Park Commission, subject to review by the Board of Selectmen [now Select Board], with “a recommended (but not binding) accent on winter sports, i.e. skating and hockey. It is further recommended that at least part of the Fund be used toward the construction of a Field House for various sports (or other functions e.g. gatherings) which would be designed to include an indoor running track and an ice hockey rink to be installed when needed.”
Marblehead has not yet decided how to spend this bequest, which totals approximately $2 million. The town election scheduled for June 20, 2023 includes a contested race for the Recreation and Park Department, with six candidates running for five open spots. Marblehead Beacon asked all of the candidates a series of questions, the first of which addressed issues surrounding beach management. Today, we are reviewing candidate perspectives on the uses of the Anderson bequest. We asked all of the candidates:
Marblehead received a $2 million grant several years ago with the stated goal of developing outdoor winter recreational activities. There has been much discussion over the last several years about how this money should be used. As a member of the Board, what would you advocate?
The candidates’ replies are listed below in alphabetical order, similar to our first article about this race, but this time starting with the second candidate in the rotation.
Linda Rice Collins
"The attached proposal was created by the Marblehead Recreation and Park Commission. I supported this proposal along with my fellow commissioners."
"At this time, I will not be submitting anything to the Marblehead Beacon."
"Thank you! At this time, I will respectfully pass. Really appreciate the follow-up and opportunity."
"I respectfully decline to answer any questions."
"A study was done in 2021 by MacLaughlin Management and Design, consultants on ice skating facilities. Their report suggests that the cost to build a facility is considerably more (close to $7.5 million two years ago) than the $2 million the Town has from the Larz Anderson estate. I would support an outdoor rink before I would support a year-round facility. I think a deep dive must be done to understand what would satisfy the requirement that the money be used for a ‘recreational winter sport’. We should do our due diligence to think outside the box and consider sports that might not normally be winter sports. Given the most recent winter, with almost no snow and temperatures often above freezing, we must be open to winter as being very different than when the money came to the Town back in 2016."
"I need to clarify the verbiage Anderson Trust documents. If you reference article VI in the estate documents, you will see no mention of the term "outdoor" winter sport. The estate docs read as “winter sport with an emphasis on skating, ice hockey, etc”. This may seem like a small issue, but it is a very important detail to consider if the town wants to honor the bequest. The gift was for 2.2M in 2018 and some money was spent to hire a consultant to evaluate the development of an ice rink. I don’t know where the money has been sitting and what type of interest it has been earning, however I would like to know how much is remaining. Minutes from a Commission meeting on 9/21/22 state that 1 million dollars was donated to improved Reynolds field and that it has not been spent yet. If this is correct, then the town is starting with a 3.2M budget which is great seed money to accomplish everything I want to do which is to build an ice rink, revamp Reynolds Street Park, and Bud Orne Fields.
For the past year, I have been researching a way to do all of these things without ANY burden to the tax-payers through a public/private partnership with Edge Sports. Although I have pages and pages of research documents, I will use the example of the partnership with Wellesley and The Boston Sports Institute. Edge Sports uses private equity funds that they raise to build, manage, and maintain recreational buildings throughout the county. They are based in Massachusetts."
Bedrossian’s full proposal is available HERE.