is encouraged. (Each section has its own index.)
February 1, 2008:
"Anticipating Super Tuesday"
January 20, 2008: "What's in a Name"
18, 2007: "The Story of Stuff"
October 8, 2007:
Collaboration: Doing More with Less
September 7, 2007:
Winds of Change
August 1, 2007: A
Way to Collaborate
July 12, 2007: Laying a
June 4, 2007: Let the Turf Wars Begin
May 1, 2007: Building
March 27, 2006:
Opportunity Expo, May 1, 2006, Cape Cod Community College
March 14, 2006:
Ideas on Sustaining Cape Cod's Water and Open Space
23, 2005: Sustaining a
7, 2005: The Pulse of Progress at Cape Corps
2004: Volunteering to Sustain Cape Cod
2004: The World Series
2004: The Cape Cod Center for Sustainability Brokers Successful
Partnerships among the Cape's Nonprofits
2004: Building the Wealth of the Cape
2003: A Knuckleball of an Idea
Street, Bourne, and Buzzards Bay
What's in a Name
Twenty years ago this month, an ice arena opened in Dennis named after
Tony Kent. The anniversary of this event has passed quietly. Its
significance deserves remembrance.
The world was far different then. The Cape was too. The early and
mid-1980s was a period of rapid population growth across the Cape.
People streamed in to buy vacation homes and to live here permanently.
The influx was so strong that local residents began to meet to determine
how to slow development's pace. Town meetings began to
purchase tracts of land more aggressively to preserve open space.
With new growth, priorities began to change regarding the Cape's lifestyle. Year-round residential communities sought to calm down the
"American Graffiti" aspects of Route 28. The public's awareness
of the dangers of drinking and driving was increasing.
New neighborhoods opposed the idea of concerts that had been commonly
held at the old Cape Cod Coliseum in South Yarmouth. Problems with the building's ice
infrastructure also made it difficult for the facility to prosper, and
the owners sold it in 1984. The closing of the Coliseum displaced the
network of hockey and skating activity that had long been as connected
to winter living on the Cape as fishing in the summer.
Against this backdrop, residents began to consider possible options.
Attorney Nick Mazzoni established a nonprofit organization literally
named the Mid-Cape Ice Arena, Inc. It became the legal core of the
efforts to construct a new facility.
Town meetings in Yarmouth and Dennis discussed possible locations for a
new arena. One location on the grounds of the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School did not
appeal to the School Committee, and it rejected the idea. Yarmouth
considered the merit of buying the Coliseum and relocating the town
offices to the site where the town might also have maintained the existing
rink. But ultimately, the price seemed too high given the Proposition 2
1/2 limitations that capped property tax increases that might be added
to the town's budget.
Dennis offered a site on Gages Way next to the town landfill where the
rink now sits. In building a road to the rink with betterments and the
generosity of the Dennis Department of Public Works, the effect was to open a
previously landlocked area
for commercial development. Ironically, the rink's construction sparked
the area's economic development that has since provided continuing property tax
revenues to the town.
Like any community project, everything did not proceed smoothly, come
easily, or conclude without mischief, bruised feelings, and frustrations.
But for the Mid-Cape Ice Arena's decision in 1986 to name the rink for
Tony Kent, I doubt whether the arena would have ever been built. The
community's desire to honor his contributions overrode temporary rifts
among local residents. It's an interesting decision to consider given
the current inclination to sell naming rights.
Tony's life was very similar to the type of life that many people live
here. He married a local woman, Leslie Chailles, who had graduated from
the Dennis-Yarmouth High School. They raised three sons. Tony was a Boy Scout leader, a baseball
coach in the Farm League, and later a coach in the Babe Ruth League. He helped establish
the Yarmouth-Dennis Youth Hockey Association as a coach of teams that first played at the Kennedy
Rink in Hyannis. He represented Dennis on the Cape Cod Regional
Technical School Committee. He worked for the Dennis Highway Department.
It was Tony's enthusiasm for the ordinary opportunities in life that
made him extraordinary. He gave much more than he got, and what he got
was satisfaction from the kinds of relationships and activities that are
available to all of us.
Twenty years have passed and a generation has enjoyed the programs and
resources that the arena offers. Of the six banks that collaboratively
financed the construction of the rink, only one remains as it legally
existed then, the Cape Cod Cooperative Bank. And of the literally
hundreds of donors of money and in-kind contributions, many are now less
active and present in the local community. Some have never ventured
inside the building.
And that's the essence of what it represents. The arena's
value is in intangible things like the footing it provides to our sense
of community. It's value is not quantifiable.
Editor of the Larson Report and president of the
Cape Cod Center for Sustainability