While plenty of steps would be needed to make it a reality, concerns are being expressed about the potential for a New England Revolution stadium in South Boston.
The Revolution have played at Foxborough, MA’s Gillette Stadium since its opening in 2002, and share it with the NFL’s New England Patriots. It has been believed that the Kraft family, which backs both the Patriots and the Revolution, will push to move the Revolution into a new soccer-specific stadium that is in or at least closer to downtown Boston. No firm plans have emerged at this stage, but one site that has been speculated as a candidate for a future stadium is a city public works yard in South Boston located on Frontage Road.
The site, situated along the Southeast Expressway, is currently the subject of debate, as officials discussed a plan last week that would ultimately transfer it to the Boston Planning & Development Agency. The transfer would be one step toward potential redevelopment, with a soccer-specific stadium rumored as one possible use of the site. Officials such as Boston mayor Marty Walsh–-a proponent of bringing the Revolution to the city–point out that the site would be the subject of a request for information (RFI), and note that it would take considerable time to for any redevelopment to occur. However, other city elected leaders are already stating that they do not support a potential Revolution stadium at the site, noting concerns such as traffic congestion. More from the Boston Herald:
“I’ve been clear on my desire to bring the Revolution to Boston, but again, we’re going to put an RFI (Request for Information) out,” Walsh told the Herald.
“This is a long way out. I don’t have, per say, a vision, but certainly there’s an opportunity for housing, economic development, for a whole bunch of things, for some more open space,” he said….
Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty said the parcel is not the right spot for a stadium.
“I cannot support this if we’re talking about a soccer stadium, it’s not sustainable,” he said. “Everyone is cutting through the neighborhood to go in town, around town, or downtown. It would choke this neighborhood.”
Gillette Stadium’s large configuration and suburban setting standout as contrasts to current MLS facility planning trends, which are leading to more soccer-specific stadiums being constructed in urban areas. That is why the Revolution’s potential stadium plans have been the subject of intrigue, and the club has made a fairly recent run at a soccer-specific stadium. The most high-profile effort of late, the pursuit of a new stadium at the site of the former Bayside Expo Center in Dorchester, fell through last year when negotiations ended.
Photo from the New England Revolution home opener, 2014, via flickr.com.
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