Whether you are for a soccer stadium at the old Bay Side Expo or against it, you most likely think the community should be part of process, right? Well, last week we reported that our neighborhood dodged a bullet with the stadium plans falling through. This week, the Bay State Banner is reporting that some local pols aren’t too happy about the top secret meetings and virtually no input from the communities directly affected i.e. Dorchester and South Boston.
Remember last spring when it was announced that Bob Kraft and the New England Revolution were in negotiations to potentially build a new stadium at the old Bay Side Expo. Don’t know where the old Bay Side Expo is? Well, it’s behind the State Police Barracks near Day Blvd. near the circle of hell that is know as Kosciuszko Circle.
Some residents went bananas over the thought of a 25,000 person stadium right in the middle of two neighborhoods in an extremely congested area. We’re all familiar with the gridlocked nightmare at the rotary, right?
Last Wednesday, Shirley Leung wrote a column in the Boston Globe about the fact that the deal may be be dead in the water. It seems that the Teacher’s Union is holding out for more money for the property – $17.5 million in cash plus costs of relocating and rebuilding their union hall – so a cool $30 million – and Kraft ain’t having it. It seems like it was so close to being a done deal with proponents like Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh and UMASS president Marty Meehan pushing for it.
And now, some of our elected officials are not happen with the whole process. According to the Bay State Banner, Senator Linda Dorcena Forry released a harshly worded statement about the “back room deal.”
“Acting in secret and without bringing members of the community and their elected representatives to the table, until backroom deals come to light through stories in the media, is wholly unacceptable,” Forry wrote.
State Representative Nick Collins also asked for transparency. “The Bayside Expo Center property is the gateway to Dorchester and is pivotal toward the vitality of Columbia Point and the city as a whole. A thorough community review involving all stakeholders is necessary to ensure that this valuable public asset is developed responsibly to maximize economic and social benefits. We have one shot to get this right and we need to have an open, public process that considers what’s best for UMass, the neighbors and area businesses and the city of Boston. I stand with my fellow elected leaders in calling for transparency and thoughtful planning as we consider next steps.”
The article in the Banner also stated that City Councilor At-Large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George was a member of the Columbia Point Task Force which gathered information from the community for plans in developing that area. Housing, commercial space, walkways and bike lanes along the harbor where discussed as part of the plan – not a soccer stadium.
UMass responded with the following:
“The University of Massachusetts has been transparent regarding the status of a prospective development of the Bayside parcel,” Cournoyer said, “including in meetings and discussions with elected officials representing the Boston campus and its surrounding neighborhoods both individually and collectively as recently as Tuesday, January, 3rd.”
Mayor Walsh’s office stated that although they are interested in the soccer stadium, they have not been involved in negations.
So we shall see, but we want to know, if Kraft didn’t refuse the BTU’s offer, would the stadium be in fact a done deal? Sounds like shenanigan’s to us.