Marathon Museum Preliminary Plans

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Hopkinton may be home to an International Marathon Museum a few years down the road. Michael Neece and Tim Kilduff, both members of the 26.2 Foundation, and architect Scott Richardson presented preliminary plans for a museum with a hall of fame located on East Main Street to the Planning Board during their December 2 meeting. No vote was taken by the Board as the museum is in its early stages of development, but reactions were positive.

The 26.2 Foundation has been formulating ideas for an International Marathon Museum since 2009. Kilduff stated that the facility would be more than just a museum and a hall of fame, and would help to connect with other communities on an international level.

“There is no greater need now in terms of sports than to advance the ideals of sportsmanship, competition, fair play and the power of the human spirit. That’s beyond just running,” said Kilduff.

Because the Boston Marathon starts in Hopkinton, the Foundation looked at different sites in the community before choosing East Main Street. The proposed location is near the site for the open recreational site at Legacy Farms where the hockey rink may be built and is on the Marathon route. The site is about 16 acres and will have a shared access road with the recreational site. Currently, the size of the building is about 30,000 square feet with parking behind the building. Richardson stated that the building will have “great visibility as you go westbound, and will also have some tie in with whatever recreational facility is being developed here as well as the future trails that will be developed as part of Legacy Farms.”

Current plans include room for facilities to hold a yearly induction ceremony into the hall of fame as well as an area for plaques. A common area for changing exhibits, community use, or receptions is proposed along with large areas for exhibits, a library and learning center for marathons worldwide, a ticket booth and gift shop. An auditorium that seats 200 people will be used for presentations and speakers at the museum. Critical aspects of the museum are archival space, interactive exhibits, education and possible laboratory space. The project would be privately funded and needs $15-20 million to be developed.

Many Planning Board members were in favor of the proposed museum.

“To bring something like this in to be the cornerstone, I think there’ll be just great things for the town,” said Vice-Chairman John Coutinho.

“The town is synonymous with the Marathon and I think it’s a great project for the town,” said Board member Todd Holbrook.

When asked by Board member Claire Wright what would happen if the undeveloped recreational site remains undeveloped, Kilduff stated that it could become a site for a trails hub or training facility and that he would love to discuss it further in the future. Wright also stated that it made the most sense to put the museum in Hopkinton, but there would be a need for visibility. Neece stated that the museum would be partially visible through the trees and would have a sign that directs visitors to its location. Board member John Ferrari stated that with the museum being close to the athletic parcel, there needed to be synergy between the two projects. Neece and Legacy Farms developer Roy MacDowell agreed, and MacDowell also liked the concept of the museum so far. Chairman Ken Weismantel liked the idea of a museum in Hopkinton and felt that it would help local businesses as well.

If all goes as planned, Kilduff expects to be back before the Planning Board in a year with definitive plans.

To watch the full meeting, click here.