Soccer stadium could give Everett needed $$ kick

If Fenway Park were to be built today, chances are good it wouldn’t pass muster with Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration.

There’s traffic congestion on game days, a dearth of free parking, and the foot traffic through Kenmore Square and environs is best described as a throng. Impact on the neighborhood? Let’s just say that Red Sox fans aren’t quiet spectators when the team plays at home.

These are some of the criticisms Boston has with Everett’s plan to take 43 acres along the Mystic River and build a soccer stadium. The proposal is backed by Robert Kraft, as the Herald reported. The idea is to bring Kraft’s New England Revolution pro soccer team from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro to the Everett site.

This could be a big win for the city, which faces a $55 million tax revenue drop between fiscal year 2021 and 2026 “due to the loss of value from this parcel,” said Mayor Carlo DeMaria. Everett has already lost $28 million since fiscal year 2020, he said.

Boston knows about tax revenue shortfalls — we’re staring down a drop of  $1.4 billion in tax revenue over the next five years due to empty office spaces. Mayor Wu wants to recoup the losses by increasing taxes on commercial properties, above the state limit. DeMaria wants to rejuvenate his city with a stadium. One of these mayors has the right idea.

Boston Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison said the plan does not include “significant parking” at the stadium. Intentional, said DeMaria. “There’s no parking spaces. I told them, if we go forward, there’ll be no parking there. We’re going to rely on public transit. We’re going to build out the transportation system.”

Wu and others have been promoting public transportation as a more climate-friendly choice for Bostonians. The idea that DeMaria has factored the MBTA into the soccer stadium plan should be a win for the fossil-fuel-averse crowd.

If the thought of crowds making the short trek from Sullivan Square Station over the Alford Street Bridge is worrisome, note that the Encore Casino in Everett runs a free shuttle for its visitors to and from Wellington Station. Such a service would be a winner for the soccer stadium.

The T is the mode of choice for many heading into Boston for sports events and concerts. During Sox season, Green Line cars are packed to the gills to and from Kenmore Square and Fenway station. The same goes for Bruins and Celtics games at TD Garden.

The Kraft Group brings muscle and funding for such a project, half the bottle in getting such a project off the ground. There’s much to be done — the rundown power plant at the Alford Street site would have to be cleaned up for starters, and Sullivan Square station would need to be able to handle expected larger crowds.

But at the end of the day, Greater Boston could have a soccer stadium, the jobs it would bring, and the chance for further growth as retail and restaurants seek a slice of the sports fan pie.

Attractions such as these are part of what makes Boston a thriving metropolis, and we want — or should want — people to visit, spend money, and enjoy themselves.

Why should Everett be any different?


Editorial cartoon by Gary Varvel (Creators Syndicate)
Editorial cartoon by Gary Varvel (Creators Syndicate)




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