'72 parks vote a ghost of the past; Council advised to ratify vote.


Byline: Matthew Bruun

FITCHBURG - A 35-year-old mistake has fallen back into the laps of the City Council and Parks Commission.

City Solicitor C. Deborah Phillips told the councilors last night they must ratify a 1972 council vote that transferred land from Coolidge Park for the construction of the Carmelita Landry Skating Arena at the Wallace Civic Center.

The city recently entered a 99-year lease with Fitchburg State College for the state to take over management of the facility, for which extensive renovations are now under way.

Ms. Phillips shared some history with councilors. When the parks board voted to transfer custody of a portion of Coolidge Park for construction of the arena in 1972, the City Council petitioned the Legislature to remove that property's designation as parkland.

"That's where the trail ends," Ms. Phillips said. Local and state searches have yielded no trace of whether the Legislature ever voted on the issue, she said, although it appears local authorities took the appropriate actions to transfer the property.

"Technically, the Landry Arena is still on parkland," Ms. Phillips said. "We will never have an answer to that question of what happened."

After a plea from the parks commissioners to send the issue back into their purview for discussion, councilors agreed to hold off on a final vote.

Mayor Dan H. Mylott said the issue was time-sensitive, but could wait until the council's next meeting, Jan. 10.

Councilors also backed an amended petition from Councilor Dean A. Tran that would tell residents how to find out about Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders living in the community. Mr. Tran's original petition, filed in March 2006, would have included the names and addresses of those offenders with water bills.

That was later amended to include information, about where to locate the state's sex offender registry, in excise tax bills, but some councilors said neither approach would reach a broad spectrum of residents.

Last night, the City Council voted to seek the input of the public schools about sending messages home with students about how to find out details of...

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