The basics of Wellesley’s new sports complex

The Wellesley Board of Selectmen has approved the ground lease for 900 Worcester St., former site of the St. James the Great church. The next step is a Special Town Meeting on April 3. The Townsman asked Meghan Jop, Wellesley’s assistant executive director, to bring readers up to date on what’s been going on with the long process of transforming the vacamt site into the home of a new recreational complex.

Under the current proposal, what will be built inside and outside at the site?

Two NHL size hockey rinks, 10 lanes (25 yards) lengthwise to bulkhead, plus three lanes (25 yards) widthwise and a smaller (50′ x 25′) warm water teaching/therapy pool, an indoor 90′ x 150′ (suitable for 7v7 high school soccer) turf field, fitness area with physical therapy (4,800 sf) and strength and conditioning (6,600 sf). The facility will also have concessions.

What is the projected completion date?

The project completion date will be dependent on permitting, but the developer is anticipating a fall 2018 opening.

Who is the developer?

The development team is the Wellesley Sports Group, LLC. The team is led by Brian DeVellis. Brian is president of the Edge Sports Group located in Bedford, Mass. Additional information, including past projects , can be found at:

Who will have priority for use of the facility? What will the schedule look like Wellesley vs. other groups?

The schedules are in the Lease Exhibits and can be found at the same site:

What outside groups will be able to use it?

The project will be a commercial enterprise and any outside group will be able to use or rent available time at the facility.

Will Wellesley residents not connected with schools or teams be able to use the facilities? Can they sign up for a pool pass, for instance? Will there be a charge to them?

This is a commercial facility. The town under the terms of the lease will receive preferred ice and pool times for the high school, Dana Hall, Wellesley Youth Hockey, and Wellesley Swim Association at market rate costs.

In addition, Brian DeVellis told the Townsman, “We will have recreational public skating and open pool times throughout the week and weekends.”

DeVellis also said, “We are continuing to refine the pro forma and operating model … but the plan is to have available for Wellesley residents the purchase of yearly ‘memberships’ allowing use of the pool, turf, track and ice during open sessions with a discounted rate for seniors and military.

Will there be a charge for parking? How many parking places will there be?

To my knowledge, there will not be a charge for parking, and the final design has not been completed. Under the zoning proposed for the site, parking would be required at a rate of one space for every three spectator seats, but not less than one space per 1,000 square feet of floor area of buildings. The site currently consists of approximately 1,100 seats – so at present the site would be required to have 367 spaces.

How much rent will the town get from the lease? How will that money be used?

There is a lease payment schedule that can be found in the exhibits. All funds would be directed to the general fund.

What costs will the town incur?

The town will not incur costs for the construction of the facility.

Who will be responsible for maintenance?

The tfown is entering into a land lease and will not be responsible for the site, structure, or operation. The town is authorizing the developer to control, construct, and operate a facility for at least 50 years on the site.

What was the original cost to the town of buying the site, and how is that being paid off? What will be the final price, with interest?

The town appropriated $5,083,694 for the acquisition of the site and church demolition. The total spent to date is approximately $4,600,000. The remaining funds will be reallocated to another town project. The town has financed the cost with 30-year, level payment with an annual debt service of $295,000. The site also has an initial estimate of property taxes in the amount of $200,000 a year.

Once the facility is built, who will oversee it? Will the committee remain in place to ensure there are no problems?

The town is entering into a land lease with the developer. The facility will not be owned or operated by the town.

Have hours of operation been set?

The schedules indicate the hours of operation as 6 a.m. to midnight. This will require finalization in permitting.

What will Special Town Meeting be asked to do?

STM will be asked to authorize the selectmen to enter into the lease as drafted, to modify the zoning and zoning map to allow for the use and construction, and to authorize the School Committee to enter into agreements with the developer to use the ice and pool.

By Cathy Brauner | Wicked Local Wellesley

Edge Sports Group Unveils Plan for New Worcester Hockey Rinks

WORCESTER — Three years after his plan to have a hockey rink built in the parking lot near the Worcester Public Library failed, Craig L. Blais, president and chief executive of the Worcester Business Development Corporation believes he’s found a more suitable location in the Canal District. Mr. Blais said the WBDC has been negotiating for two years with GKN Sinter Metals to acquire the former PresMet Corp. site at Harding and Winter streets, and he expects to complete the purchase with brownfield grants between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The WBDC would demolish the former powder metal parts manufacturing plant, which has been closed since 2007, clean up the 3.5-acre site by June 1, 2016,and lease it to Edge Sports Group, which would finance, build, own and manage the facility that will house two rinks, a pro shop, eight locker rooms, a restaurant, offices and possibly a physical therapy room. Edge Sports Group’s Harry Angevine said the plan is to complete construction by August 2017.

“The goal in building this facility,” Mr. Angevine said, “is to provide a much-needed source of ice time, as well as an endeavor to rejuvenate the neighborhood, to bring a lot more foot traffic into the neighborhood.”

Edge Sports Group of Providence has broken ground on a hockey facility in Middleton and is negotiating to build one in Devens, Mr. Angevine said. Mr. Angevine’s business partner, Brian DeVellis, developed and owns another hockey facility in Bedford.Mr. Blais estimated purchasing the property, demolishing the building and cleaning the site would cost $3 million, and Mr. Angevine said construction would cost another $12-$15 million.

In 2012, a proposal by Mr. Blais and the WBDC to build a hockey facility on the city parking lot outside of the Worcester Public Library was opposed by the library’s board of directors and never materialized.Mr. Blais said a WBDC feasibility study found a demand exists for the ice time, and that several local colleges and youth hockey leagues have expressed interest in playing at the proposed facility.

Mr. Angevine said he believes the need exists for four ice rinks, but the site lacks the room.Worcester State University Athletic Director Michael Mudd, former president of the Worcester Sharks American Hockey League team, said WSU “would be very interested in renting ice time for practices and games” for its men’s hockey team, and would consider a women’s hockey program.“I think the project would impact the city in a positive fashion,” Mr. Mudd said. “There continues to be a demand for ice time in New England for youth hockey, adult hockey and figure skating.”

Mr. Blais said the WBDC conservatively estimates that the facility would attract 50,000 users to the rinks each year. He added that the rinks will operate 18 to 20 hours a day, seven days a week, year round. Multiple-rink facilities attract multiday tournaments, so players and fans often stay at local hotels.

“It’s going to bring a lot of people to the area,” Mr. Blais said, including “college students, kids, parents, youth organizations, parents dropping off kids for practice and looking for things to do in the Canal District. We think it’s going to be a good boon for the area.” Mr. Blais, Mr. Angevine, City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. and Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Timothy P. Murray met with Canal District business leaders to assure them that the design of the building would fit in with the architecture of the district.“

We’re much more on board,” Canal District Alliance president Mullen Sawyer. “What was very clear to our group was that they wanted to work with all the businesses in the Canal District to make the facility all that it could be, and that they are looking at a full-year operation. We were afraid that it might be shuttered significantly in summer months, which is our critical time, and the architect committed to a design charrette with all of our businesses. So we’re thrilled with the opportunity.”

Mr. Murray is a big believer in the project, and because he’s played in a men’s hockey league at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro the past two years, he knows firsthand about the financial impact such a facility can have.“I think it’s going to be a real shot in the arm,” Mr. Murray said, “in terms of bringing people into the city, spending money and having a unique experience.”

“It’s great for the neighborhood,” said Michael E. Traynor, the city’s chief development officer, “to take that abandoned, polluted site, to get it cleaned up and put it into active use. There’s definitely a demand for hockey, whether it be at the youth level, the college level and having a home rink for the various Worcester-based organizations and schools, it’s great.”

The only ice rink currently open to the public in Worcester is the state-owned Buffone Arena on Lake Avenue.

By Bill Doyle | Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Senator Barrett Praises Local Support of US Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team

Massachusetts State Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) presents a Senate citation to the US women’s Olympic hockey team, which trained at The Edge in Bedford. Courtesy image

On a frigid January evening weeks before the Sochi Olympic Games, State Sen. Mike Barrett praised the US women’s national hockey team as “role models” and “leaders.”

The team, with a roster of top players from across the country, has made their home in the local area for the past several months. The entire squad has been training at The Edge in Bedford, while many players are staying with Concord families.

Inside The Edge, scores of young girls who play for the East Coast Wizards youth teams circled the ice, taking photos and collecting autographs from their heroes.

Barrett — the local State Senator for Bedford, Concord and surrounding towns — presented the national team with an official Senate citation for their time spent in the area.  Addressing them at center ice, he said, “You represent the very best of amateur athletics.  When you look around today it’s clear that so many kids look up to you.  You’re role models not only for young girls but young boys as well.”

Barrett also praised the local support the team has received, in particular host families, who welcomed women they didn’t know into their homes, as a way to make the experience convenient and allow them to feel at home.  “We’re behind you all the way.”

The team’s training over the past several months has included intense workouts, long practices, film study and exhibition games.  But they also found time to visit the cape, go apple picking and explore historic local sites.  They travel to Russia in the coming days to play team Finland on February 8th, puck drop at 3am Eastern Time.

The Bedford Citizen

US Womens Hockey Team find home at Bedford’s EDGE

BEDFORD — Outside the Edge Sports Center, it’s an unseasonably warm November afternoon. Inside, 25 hockey players in red, white, and blue practice jerseys dream of cold, gray Russian winter days. They skate through drill after drill, slapping their sticks on the

ice for good play and goals scored. They go for nearly 2½ hours, taking only the briefest break for ice resurfacing.

This is the US women’s national hockey team at work. “Training camp is always tough and everyone’s super sore,” said forward Kelli Stack, a former Boston College standout who hopes to make her second Olympic squad. “But it’s definitely helped us bond as a team and develop on and off-ice chemistry.” For women’s hockey, the road to the Sochi Olympics runs through suburban Boston.

Since early September, the team has been training at the Edge in Bedford and working with strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle in Woburn. And the players have made themselves at home off the ice, taking up residence in Concord, Waltham, Winchester,

Woburn, and elsewhere. While some players room together in apartments, one-third billet with host families. The team hopes its quiet, hockey-focused life in Bedford and surrounding towns, places far from the Olympic spotlight, will translate to a gold-medal run. The United States and Canada are favorites for the Olympic title, with Finland in the mix.

“This is our main priority right now, in terms of time,” said defenseman Josephine Pucci, who took a break from her studies at Harvard to focus on making her first Olympic team and lives with a host family in Winchester. “Everything we do revolves around this. We’re here [at the rink] basically the whole day. I’ll leave my house around 9 a.m. and not get back until 4 or 5 p.m. on most days.

“[With months together], we have the opportunity to get to know each other as people, get used to each other’s style of play each and every day. We can get used to each other’s habits, know how to adjust to each other, and try to bring out the best in each other.”

Knowing that 80 days remain until the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7, coach Katey Stone remarked that the Sochi Games are approaching with almost unbelievable speed. The women’s team will spend the next couple months training in Bedford, playing in exhibition games across the United States and Canada, finalizing its Olympic roster, and fine-tuning the lines. The 21 players headed to Russia will be determined in late December and announced Jan. 1 during the second intermission of the NHL’s annual Winter Classic.

No matter who makes the final cut, the team will have a strong Boston connection. Many of the players are very familiar with the city, having grown up here, or gone to college in the area, or both. Others have played for the Boston Blades in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Of the 25 players training in Bedford, 14 have some Boston-area tie, including nine who have played at local colleges. Stone, who holds the record for most wins by a Division 1 women’s hockey coach (402), took a year’s leave from her post as Harvard’s coach to focus on her duties with the Olympic team.

“I’d like to say we’re right where we want to be, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Stone. “We’re still carrying 25 players, so the biggest focus right now is giving these kids a little bit more time to prove themselves to get on this roster. We’ve had a bunch of games with Canada. We went up to Four Nations and learned a lot of lessons there.

After finishing third in the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., earlier this month, the players know nothing is guaranteed, even though the United States and Canada have dominated international women’s hockey. The US team won gold when women’s hockey made its Olympic debut at the 1998 Games. But since then, the Canadians have taken the title and the US team has gone home from the 2002 and 2010 Olympics with silver and from the 2006 Games with bronze.

Understandably, it’s the rivalry with Canada that gets the United States fired up and, occasionally, ready to fight.

That was the case when the US team played Canada in their first exhibition game last month in Burlington, Vt. Late in the game, American forward Monique Lamoureux collided with Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados. Then, standing up for her goalie, Canadian defenseman Courtney Birchard pursued Lamoureux. That prompted Lamoureux’s twin sister, Jocelyne, and others on the US team to go after the Canadians and a fight ensued.

Stack was one of the players in the middle of the fray. She thought Lamoureux was making a play at the net, not intentionally going after the Canadian goalie. But if the situation was reversed, Stack could see the American defensemen standing up for the US goalie.

“You don’t see fights too often in women’s hockey, but that’s how intense we are and how much we care about our teammates,” said Stack. “The rivalry with Canada, that’s why all of us who are out of college are probably still playing. We are the two best teams in the world when we want to be. So, the competition is unbelievable. When people watch us play, it’s kind of the best hockey in the world, even compared to NHL hockey. I don’t think people give female hockey players enough credit. The hockey fans that are out there get a great treat when they see a Canada-US game because we’re both so passionate about what we do. And we love winning, especially when it’s against Canada. So, it’s going to be a battle.”

The United States and Canada will play four more exhibition games before the Olympics. So, that leaves plenty of opportunity for the rivalry to intensify and plenty of motivation for practices at the Edge.

By Shira Springer | The Boston Globe

Charities get an EDGE

The Bedford Boy Scouts Troop 194 held its inaugural Charity Cup Challenge Saturday at The EDGE Sports Center, featuring a hockey game between the Bedford Police, Fire & DPW All-Stars and the Bedford EDGErs.

The final score was 7-4, in favor of the EDGErs but the real winners are Troop 194’s charities: The American Legion Post 221, Toys for Local Children, the Bedford Food Pantry and the Bedford High School Fallen Veterans Memorial Fund.

The game, sponsored by The EDGE Sports Center and the East Coast Wizards Hockey program, who donated the use of their facility and the ice time, drew more than 125 spectators who not only took in a spirited hockey game, but also took part in a silent auction of sports memorabilia and holiday gift baskets donated by local merchants and the Bedford Cub Scouts Pack 194.

The day’s events kicked off with the JROTC Color Guard presenting the Star Spangled Banner, and Boy Scout Steven DeVellis leading the Pledge of Allegiance, culminated in the awarding of the first annual Charity Cup to the winning team, the Bedford EDGErs.

Proceeds from the event will ensure the continued growth of scouting in Bedford, and will be donated to the American Legion in appreciation of their sponsorship of Bedford Scouting; along with the Bedford High School JROTC program for the BHS Fallen Veterans Memorial Fund – to be used in the creation of an enduring memorial at the High School to all the brave local men and women who have lost their lives in the US Armed Forces. Additionally, the Troop collected boxes of food for the Bedford Food Pantry for local families this holiday season, and TLC.

By Stephen Tobey | Bedford Minuteman

BHS Varsity Hockey Now Has The Edge

Bedford High School varsity hockey practice began earlier this week, as it has for decades on the first Monday after Thanksgiving. Not much new in that – except this marks the start of a new era for the sport, its players, families and fans, and the greater community.

Do you recall that scene in “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy emerges from her house and finds that the world has changed from black-and-white to color? That’s what’s happening on Hartwell Road as hockey players find themselves in their own local Oz – The Edge sports center.

“I’ve been over there a few times, and I’ve just been treated really well,” said BHS Head Coach Peter Marfione last week. “They’re willing to help us as much as they possibly can.” Added Chris Aufiero, director of athletics at the high school, “It’s going to work out great for the kids.” The first home game is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Senior Andy Westerkamp is looking forward to the “health benefits,” as he explained: When the team rented out-of-town ice, “we got up at 3:45 to practice at 5, and that really takes a toll on you after awhile. You’ve got to go to bed early, but sometimes you can’t because you have homework. With this new rink we go to practice every day after school at 2:30. And everything’s right down the street.”

“They used to be on a bus at the high school at 4:20 in the morning,” the coach confirmed. “Sometimes they had a game at eight at night. I don’t think anybody could expect them to be at their best.”

A year ago, there was nothing “down the street” but a wooded lot across from the former Raytheon systems complex. Groundbreaking didn’t take place until January. The developers, Brian DeVellis of Bedford and former Olympic hockey star Scott Fusco, said they were aiming for completion by the end of the year. Yeah, dream on.

Except they did it. The plan sailed through the permitting process, a few neighborhood concerns were addressed, and the project surged through the spring and summer. The rink opened early this month, and work on the indoor turf field and fitness center is nearly complete.

“It’s going to be a good atmosphere over there for the kids,” Marfione asserted. “Youth hockey will grow and hopefully will feed right into the high school.” There are bleachers alongside the rink, and “a couple hundred people can sit over there. Hopefully we’ll develop a following with the youth hockey. It’s going to take a couple of years, but I think the numbers will grow.”

His predecessor as coach, Bedford native Mike McGrath, is the facilities manager at The Edge. He expects the high school program to benefit “just in terms of sheer numbers — I think a lot of kids didn’t try out to avoid the 5 a.m. practice time.” McGrath, who said his new job is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, said the return of junior varsity hockey would strengthen the sport as athletes strive to move up the ladder and stay there.

Sophomore Cotter Ellis, the team’s goalie, mentioned the discomfort of playing “home” games in the same arena used by archrival Concord-Carlisle. “We had to get the worst times, the worst locker rooms,” he related. Now the ice is only five minutes away, and the team has its own room at The Edge. “We can leave our bags there. We don’t have to lug them around.” Aufiero concurred. “I can’t emphasize enough the value of having a locker room – they don’t have to drag their stuff around and find a place to store it in school.”

Aufiero noted that there will be significant financial savings. Bus transportation to and from Valley Sports Arena in West Concord for practices and games cost $150 per round trip, from the Monday after Thanksgiving to mid-February, he said Between practices and games, there were six trips a week.

Westerkamp, who is president of the BHS Class of 2008, is starting his fourth year on the varsity, including a magical 2005-2006 season when the team dressed only 15 athletes but won most of its games and qualified for post-season play. “I think this is going to be a great spot for all the kids in town,” he said. “People are going to start enjoying hockey and going to the games. I’ve been to the free skate a couple of times and a lot of young kids are going to hang out.”

Andy’s mother Cissy, who grew up with nine brothers who played hockey, joined in that open community skating earlier this month. “Having a facility like this will not only benefit the kids but the town overall,” she testified. “It’s going to be an opportunity for families.” Cotter, who has been skating since age four, is certain that the new facilities will inspire more interest and involvement.

Aufiero hopes the relationship with The Edge extends to some conditioning programs and the turf fields, which will come in handy for practice sessions on snowy or rainy spring afternoons.

By Mike Rosenberg | Copyright 2007 Bedford Minuteman. Some rights reserved

New Sports Center Has a Real EDGE

Hockey games running from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. this past weekend were a welcome sight for Brian DeVellis and Scott Fusco, who had become accustomed to the ongoing construction that has allowed The EDGE Sports Center of Bedford to open in time for high school hockey season.

“You know, it’s just a big relief to finally get the doors open,” said DeVellis. “We had shot for the middle of October, so, given the fact that we were still clearing the site in June, that’s pretty good.” DeVellis and Fusco, the principle partners for the property, started the permitting process in January, according to Fusco. “So, it was a solid ten months, which is great,” he said. “All the town boards were great to work with. They knew we had a tight time frame so they did everything they could to get all the approvals in place,” Fusco said. The sports center, located on Hartwell Road, opened its doors this past Saturday to its Learn To Play Hockey program, which was followed by a weekend filled with skating and hockey. “Everything’s gone great,” said Fusco. “We’ve gotten positive feedback about the games and ice surface. I was happy with the way things went, and I think the people were, as well.

“I think it’s going to be a great deal for the town. For the first time they’re putting a middle school hockey team together,” he said. Around 26 kids tried out for the team, which is “great for town spirit and to build the high school program,” Fusco said. The EDGE will also open two indoor Field Turf fields later this month. “People are dying for the turf fields,” said DeVellis. “People are coming in now and requesting birthday times.”Fusco envisions the turf fields as a place for community recreation, saying, “Really anything that can be done on grass can be done on the turf.” The EDGE has already gotten calls from people interested in Ultimate Frisbee, football and baseball – even from a dog agility club.

Log onto for more information on programs offered.

By Patrick Ball | Bedford Minuteman

Ice Rink, Sports Facility Construction Under Way

Just six months ago, The Edge Sports Center of Bedford was an idea, well, two ideas, really. Now, the brainchild of Brian DeVellis and Scott Fusco, the gaudy steel skeleton across from Raytheon on Hartwell Road more closely resembles an athletic complex with each passing day.

DeVellis a Bedford resident, and developer by trade, identified the town’s need for more field space, specifically indoors. Fusco, a Winchester resident, runs a girls hockey program of selects ages 7 to 19 called the East Coast Wizards, and was looking to secure a rink where his program could play.

The pair joined forces to develop the completely privately funded Edge Sports Center of Bedford, after they were introduced by mutual friends.

They broke ground the third week in April, and thus far, “everything’s gone pretty well,” said Fusco.

Once complete, The Edge Sports Center’s facility will include a pro shop and concession area that will stand between the 200 feet x 85 feet regulation hockey rink and the indoor sports facility, with a total turf area of 225 feet by 95 feet and 10,000-square-foot athletes’ training center. The rink will have seating for about 300, the turf will have standing room only. Parking and entrances will be located at both the front and rear of the facility

If the current construction schedule sticks, the rink will be open by Oct. 1, for the start of hockey season, and the turf will follow suit a few weeks later.

DeVellis and Fusco plan on being completely up and running by Nov. 1.

They anticipate the rink will be used for “select” boys and girls hockey (Boston Junior Eagles and East Coast Wizards), local (Bedford-Lexington) youth hockey, two high school hockey programs (Bedford and Lexington) and drop-in hockey, as well as the learn-to-skate program, synchronized skating, figure skating and public skating hours.

Using the sports center as their home ice will benefit Bedford High School because not only will they save money by not bussing the players to and from the rink in West Concord, but the team will be able to practice after school instead of at 5 a.m. Also, there will be a separate locker room reserved for Bedford High School during the hockey season, so they won’t have to lug their equipment with them to and from the rink.

Fusco said The Edge Sports Center could result in a “big quality of life improvement” for the families of hockey players. There is a huge, untapped demand for ice time in the area, said Fusco. “We look at our market as a ½ hour radius.”

The turf section of the complex will have one big piece of turf and netting can divide the turf into two fields arranged perpendicularly – the larger measuring 160 feet x 95 feet and the smaller being 125 feet x 75 feet – or into three fields.

He anticipates the turf will be used by youth and adult indoor soccer and lacrosse for practices and training. Baseball and football could eventually be played on the turf, which will be made available to high school sports teams as needed. Programs for younger kids, likely run by the Recreation Department, will be offered as well, said Fusco.

“The space is big enough you can pretty much do anything,” he said.

Amy Hamilton, director of Bedford Recreation, said the Recreation Department has had several meetings with developers to determine how it makes the most sense to work together – as far as who runs what and so forth.

“We’ve been talking about various programs specifically, and how it would be best to manage the programs,” she said. “We’ve just been, you know, working together, feeling our way with them to determine what’s best for the community.

“They’re easy to work with, and they absolutely want to work with the community,” said Hamilton. “It’s an exciting time for everybody.”

Some details still need ironing out, and The Edge Sports Center is looking for potential employees to work in maintenance, marketing and managing retail, as well as zamboni drivers.

More information on the facility is available at

By Patrick Ball | Copyright 2007 Bedford Minuteman. Some rights reserved

Golfing Great Visits Site of Posh New Course

STRATHAM — It was up on a rise overlooking an old cornfield and a shag bark hickory tree that golf great Arnold Palmer met the members of the Golf Club of New England.

The event, held under a white tent to shade the 150 guests from the sweltering sun, was billed as a ground-breaking for the millionaires’ golf club, which will cover 450 acres of Stratham and Greenland when it is done. And although Palmer never laid a hand on a shovel at the event, he did touch a lot of hearts. “He’s the most gracious man I have ever met,” said John M. Kehoe Jr., president and chief executive officer of The General Chemical Group and GCNE’s president. “This is great,” agreed Craig Benson, founder of Cabletron Systems in Rochester.

Introducing Palmer to the crowd underneath the tent, Kehoe called it “an absolutely unadulterated thrill. “This is the finest ambassador of the game of golf ever,” he said. He also announced that the road leading from Winnicutt Road to the new course will be named Arnold Palmer Drive. GCNE hired Palmer Course Design Company to design the chic, state-of-the-art course. Palmer, who stood beside the makeshift stage, bowed graciously at the honor of having the road named for him. And when he took the stage, the golf great brought laughs from the crowd.

The levity came when a GCNE member asked if Palmer would return for the opening of the course next year. “When we open this up, will you come up and play the first round of golf with us,” the man asked. “God hopes I will,” joked Palmer, apparently referring to his 71 years and his health. “I don’t even buy green bananas anymore,” he quipped. Palmer called the rolling Stratham and Greenland fields and forest that will be created into fairways “fantastic.”

In fact, Kehoe said Palmer’s enthusiasm for the Stratham site is the reason they chose his design company to build it. “When you come to New Hampshire and have a piece of property like this, it makes you drool,” said Palmer, whose company builds six to 12 golf courses a year. “The naturalness of this land is going to make it a classic golf course.” Palmer, who just finished the Fleet Boston Classic on Sunday, a Senior PGA Tour event, will compete in the U.S. Senior Open on Thursday at the Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass.

Brian DeVellis, the design consultant who went through two years of permit-seeking to make the golf course come true, said he was happy to see Monday arrive. “It’s been a long haul,” he said, smiling. GCNE spokesman Brad Sweet called yesterday’s event a great success. “It was unbelievable.” More than 140 members have shelled out $55,000 each to join the posh new club. They were joined yesterday by local officials and the press for the Palmer visit. Kehoe announced that GCNE expects to receive its final Army Corps of Engineers permit mid-week and will begin building the golf course in earnest by week’s end.

The 18-hole, 7,200-yard, 72-par golf course will feature a $4 million golf clubhouse. In addition to the clubhouse, the Stratham side of the course will include 10 member homes and four of the 18 holes. The maintenance buildings will also be located in Stratham.

A total of 146 acres of the golf course are in Stratham. The remaining 295 acres are in Greenland. The 12,000-square-foot clubhouse will feature an 18-table dining room that can accommodate 72 diners.

The founding fathers of the club are Craig Benson, founder of Cabletron Systems in Rochester; Stephen W. Foss, chairman and chief executive officer of Foss Manufacturing Co.; John M. Kehoe Jr., president and chief executive officer of The General Chemical Group; Neil Garvey, president of Tyco Submarine Systems; and L. Dennis Kozlowski, chairman and chief executive officer of Tyco International.

By Susan Nolan | Exeter Newsletter

Massachusetts Office:
EDGE Sports Global LLC
900 Worcester Street
Wellesley, MA 02482

Florida Office
EDGE Sports Global LLC
28031 Winthrop Circle
Bonita Springs, FL 34134

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