Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. It is hereby declared that there is an urgent need within the city of Lowell to provide suitable, additional structures and facilities for large public and private gatherings which are civic, cultural, athletic, commercial or entertainment in nature, including facilities which will accommodate indoor athletic and sporting events and training, performing arts and cultural events, entertainment, education, convention exhibitions, trade shows, large meetings and banquets and that the provision of suitable, additional facilities rapidly and at reasonable cost will enhance development within the city, increase the general welfare of the public, increase the level of employment and increase assessed commercial property values and that the provision of such structures and facilities is a proper public and municipal purpose.
SECTION 2. For the purpose of this act, the term "civic arena" shall mean a multi-purpose civic arena consisting of one or more single or multi-purpose structures and facilities designed and constructed to provide accommodations for large public and private gatherings which are civic, cultural, athletic, commercial or entertainment in nature including facilities which will accommodate indoor athletic and sporting events and training, performing arts and cultural events entertainment, education, conventions, exhibitions, trade shows, large meetings and banquets and similar and related activities. Such structures and facilities shall be publicly owned and either publicly or privately operated, and the same may be open to the public use with or without charge and to private use for a fee.
SECTION 3. (a) The city of Lowell, upon recommendation of the city manager and approval of the city council, is hereby authorized to establish a commission, to be known as the Lowell arena commission, hereinafter called the commission, for the purpose on behalf of the city of planning, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining, as herein provided, a civic arena within the city. The commission shall consist of five members, residents of the city except as herein provided, three of whom shall be appointed by the city manager with the approval of the city council and two of whom shall be appointed by the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, hereinafter called the university, in accordance with the procedures set forth in this act. A record of such appointments by the city and as designated in writing by the university shall be filed with the city clerk and thereupon be effective. The chairperson of the commission shall be designated by the city manager.
(b) The members of the commission appointed by the university, shall either be residents of the city or officers or employees of the university. A vacancy in the commission shall be filled through the procedures set forth in paragraph (a). Any member of the commission appointed by the university may vote or act on any matter concerning or related to the university brought before the commission.
(c) The members of the commission shall serve for terms of five years unless sooner removed; provided, however, that the initial appointees of the chancellor of university shall serve for terms of two and three years, respectively, the term of each to be designated by the chancellor at the time of appointment; the remaining initial appointees of the city shall serve for terms of one, four, and five years respectively, the term of each to be designated by the city manager at the time of appointment. Members, unless sooner removed, shall serve until the appointment of their successors. Vacancies other than by reason of expiration of a term shall be filled by appointment by the appropriate appointing authority for the balance of the unexpired term. A member of the commission may be removed for cause for misfeasance, malfeasance or wilful neglect of duty by a unanimous vote of each, of the city, acting through the city council, and the university, acting through the chancellor, who may appoint a designee for this purpose, pursuant to reasonable notice to the member in question which shall include a statement of facts forming the basis for consideration of removal, and a public hearing conducted before the council and the university representative, unless such hearing is expressly waived by the member in question in writing. Removal for cause may be initiated by either the city or the university.
(d) The commission shall adopt by-laws, rules and regulations, which are consistent with the provisions hereof or of any applicable statute or ordinance, for conducting its business and meetings and otherwise carrying out, the purpose of this act. Three members of the commission shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of at least three members shall be necessary and shall suffice for any action taken by the commission including the adoption of such by-laws, rules and regulations.
(e) Members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but shall be allowed their reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as such members.
SECTION 4. (a) The commission, in cooperation with federal, state, municipal or private agencies or persons, natural or corporate, including without limitation the university, is hereby authorized for and on behalf of the city to plan, design, locate, acquire property, construct, equip, furnish, alter, enlarge and repair structures and facilities of a civic arena, whenever and to the extent that the commission deems such facilities to be necessary or desirable in the city.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision hereof to the contrary, the commission shall take no action described below without the approval of the city council of the city in each instance upon written request of the city council by the commission: (i) adoption of annual capital and annual operating budgets, (ii) the acquisition by purchase or lease of real property, (iii) the disposition of real property, and (iv) the exercise of eminent domain.
(c) The commission is authorized to contract with the university, Lowell memorial auditorium or any other person, persons or entities, public or private, to provide the commission with feasibility, financial and other studies, plans and specifications and other professional services including legal and accounting services, and including those necessary to determine the characteristics, quality, financing, design and time schedule for the construction of the civic arena, and the university and other person, persons or entities may pay all or any portion of the cost of such studies, plans, specifications or other services. The commission shall reimburse the city for up to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for expenses incurred by the city for project management, engineering, design and site assessment, legal and appraisal services, including feasibility and economic projections, pertaining to the civic arena prior to the enactment of this act and the appropriation of funds for the construction of the civic arena.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of sections forty-four A to forty-four J, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and forty-nine of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the commission is authorized to contract with one or more persons to design and to manage the construction of the civic arena or to design and construct the same, provided that the selection process by the commission shall be in accordance with the requirements of section six of chapter thirty B of the General Laws and to the extent applicable shall be governed by the provisions of sections two, three, seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, seventeen and nineteen of said chapter thirty B.
SECTION 5. (a) The commission, upon the approval of the city council as provided in paragraph (b) of section four, is hereby authorized to acquire in the name and on behalf of the city for the purposes of this act private or public, real or personal property rights above, at or below the surface of the earth, which it deems necessary or desirable for a civic arena by purchase, gift, lease, bequest, devise or grant, and the city may transfer to the jurisdiction of the commission for such purpose any such property acquired by the city by purchase, gift, lease, bequest, devise, grant or the exercise of eminent domain under any provision of law. Wherever possible and practicable, real property acquired under the provision of this act shall be acquired in fee simple.
(b) The commission, upon the approval of the city council as set forth in paragraph (b) of section four, may sell, lease, exchange, demolish or otherwise dispose of property and property rights acquired under this act, if in so doing it deems that the interest of the city will be best served and that the same are no longer needed for purposes of the civic arena.
Section sixteen of chapter thirty B of the General Laws shall not apply to this section.
SECTION 6. For the purposes of making surveys, planning, acquiring land for, erecting, equipping of a civic arena, the city acting by and through the commission is authorized to accept and use such federal, commonwealth and university funds, grants, appropriations, credits and benefits as may now or hereafter be available for the same, including without limitation any funds available to the city or the commission in accordance with chapter four hundred and eighty-six of the acts of nineteen hundred and eighty, and to secure the benefits in regard to the civic arena of the applicable provisions of federal or commonwealth law, or that which may be restricted by referendum for initial construction.
SECTION 7. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law or ordinance to the contrary, the commission for and on behalf of the city is hereby authorized and empowered:
(a) To maintain, operate, insure, promote, repair and improve a civic arena for such uses as are provided in this act.
(b) To provide through employees of the city under the commission's supervision or by the grant of one or more contracts or concessions to the university or to private persons or entities for the furnishing of services and materials for the accommodation of persons admitted to or using the civic arena or any part, facility or function thereof.
(c) To establish rules, regulations and policies, and fix penalties for violation thereof, for the use and occupancy of the civic arena in accordance with the purposes provided for in this act and to revise the same from time to time. Penalties enforced or other damages recovered by judicial process or otherwise shall be collected for the account of the city and paid over to the commission.
(d) To fix and revise from time to time and charge and collect fees, rates, rentals and other charges for admission to, or the use or occupancy of the civic arena or any part thereof, and for the grant of concessions therein and for things furnished or services rendered by the commission or by the university or any other person holding a concession from the commission, whether the facilities are operated by the commission or under a contract or lease with the university or any other persons or entities. The commission shall fix such fees, rates, rentals or other charges for the admission to, or the use and occupancy of the civic arena under this act as in its judgment are best suited to insure maximum income to meet the expenses of the commission as established in its annual budget and to provide such facilities at reasonably low cost. The fees, rates, rentals and other charges fixed by the commission shall not be subject to supervision or regulation of any department, division, commission, board, bureau or agency of the commonwealth or of the city except as otherwise provided herein.
(e) To contract with the university and any other person, persons or entities, public or private, with respect to the use and occupancy by the university or such person, persons or entities by lease, rental or otherwise of all or any portion of the civic arena under such terms and conditions, for such fees, rentals or other charges, and for such period, not exceeding three years, as the commission shall deem in the best interest of the city, except that a contract with the university for university use may be for a period in excess of three years. Any such contract with the university may include provision for the payment by the university directly or by contribution to the commission through the city of a portion of the capital costs of design, construction and operation of the civic arena, and the university may enter into any such contract with the commission and make any such payment or contribution from any monies of the university available for such purpose notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary.
(f) To contract with a private professional manager or management firm, hereinafter called the "general manager", which may be the same as the management agent for Lowell memorial auditorium, wherein the commission may delegate such duties and authority to the general manager in regard to supervising the design, construction and equipping, furnishing, repairing, operating and maintaining of the civic arena as the commission deems proper, but any such contract shall provide for the termination of the same by the commission for cause and may provide for the termination of the same at the convenience of the commission.
(g) To engage accounting, management, legal, financial, consulting and other professional services, and to employ such other employees and agents, as may be necessary to carry out the provisions and purposes of this act.
(h) Except as otherwise provided herein, all contracts made pursuant to this act shall be in accordance with the provisions of section twenty-nine of chapter forty-three of the General Laws.
(i) Members of the commission shall not be employees of the city and the provisions of chapter thirty-one of the General Laws shall not apply to any persons employed by the commission.
SECTION 8. (a) The commission is hereby authorized to maintain and operate a civic arena or to contract with the university, or to contract with any person acting jointly with the university or any other person, public or private for the maintenance and operation of the civic arena or any portion thereof; provided, however, that any such contract shall not exceed a term of three years and shall be subject to the limitations and procedures established by section twenty-nine of chapter forty-three of the General Laws.
(b) Any such contract may provide for advance reservations of the multi-purpose civic arena or of a facility thereof and shall be on such terms and conditions as the commission deems proper. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law or ordinance to the contrary, contracts executed pursuant to this clause shall be valid and binding on both parties thereto when executed by any such person and upon approval by a majority of the members of the commission. The commission's power to execute contracts under this clause may be delegated by it to the general manager of the civic arena.
SECTION 9. The commission shall have no independent authority to incur debt. All debt in the form of notes or bonds, if any, incurred in connection with the civic arena shall be debt of the city and shall be incurred by the city in accordance with applicable laws and procedures and on such terms and conditions as determined by the city from time to time.
(b) Subject to the approval of the finance advisory board, if such board shall then be in existence, the city, upon recommendation of the city manager and the approval of the city council may appropriate to the commission such funds as it deems necessary for the purposes of managing, operating, promoting, maintaining, repairing and improving the multi-purpose civic arena or any of its facilities. The provisions of chapter four hundred and eighty-six of the acts of nineteen hundred and eighty to the extent not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, shall apply to the city and the commission acting under the provisions of this act.
(c) Any receipts from the operation of the multi-purpose civic arena shall be kept in a separate fund by the city treasurer apart from any other money, funds, or other property of the city, and may be used subject to the recommendation of the city manager and the approval of the city council for the purpose of managing, operating, promoting, maintaining, repairing and improving the civic arena and for the payment of bond and note indebtedness as provided in this act and for a capital reserve fund among other things. The provisions of section fifty-three F> of chapter forty-four of the General Laws shall apply to the civic arena which shall be deemed to be an enterprise under said provisions.
SECTION 10. (a) Notwithstanding any limitation on the number of licenses which may be issued under the provisions of section seventeen of chapter one hundred and thirty-eight of the General Laws, the licensing commissioners of the city may issue to the university or to any other person, persons or entities operating the civic arena under a lease pursuant to paragraph (a) of section eight or who has been granted a concession by the commission for the sale of food and alcoholic beverages pursuant to paragraph (b) of section seven a license or licenses as a common victualler to serve all alcoholic beverages to be drunk on the premises of the civic arena or any part thereof and the provisions of section twelve A and sixteen C of said chapter one hundred and thirty-eight shall not apply to such premises. The licensee shall not be required by said licensing board under the provisions of section twelve of said chapter one hundred and thirty-eight to have the licensed premises open during any hours when there is no activity being conducted in the civic arena nor shall the licensee be permitted to serve food or alcoholic beverages to strangers, travelers or members of the general public who are not attending any activity then being conducted in the civic arena.
(b) Notwithstanding any general or special law or ordinance to the contrary, said licensing commissioners are authorized to issue to the university or to any other person or persons operating the multi-purpose civic arena under a lease pursuant to paragraph (a) of section eight or who has been granted a concession by the commission for the sale of food or beverages pursuant to said paragraph (b) of section seven a common victualler's license for the premises of the civic arena or any part thereof pursuant to section two of chapter one hundred and forty of the General Laws, and the provisions of section five of said chapter one hundred and forty shall not apply to the license so issued.
(c) Any licenses issued under this section shall not be transferable to any other location and such licenses shall be renewed annually subject to the provisions of chapter one hundred and thirty-eight of the General Laws.
(d) Any license issued under this section shall expire and be returned by the licensee to the licensing commissioner upon the termination of the licensee's lease or concession to carry out a permitted purpose of this act.
SECTION 11. Notwithstanding any provision in this act to the contrary, any planning, designing, site determination, land acquisition, project management or any other action and any contracts related thereto pertaining to the civic arena, performed or made by or on behalf of the city prior to the passage of this act and the establishment of the commission shall be deemed to be ratified and confirmed by the commission upon its establishment without further action by the commission.
SECTION 12. The commission shall prepare and submit to the city manager and city council an annual report within three months of the end of the city's fiscal year.
SECTION 13. This act shall take effect upon its passage.