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October 09, 2008


Fat City Citizen

The City's story on this is just a little dishonest. Everyone else that has really looked at siting the maintenance facility has strongly recommended against anywhere in Inner Belt, and in favor of a location on or adjacent to the existing Boston Engine Terminal (the big blue building) just a few hundred yards away.

Far from reluctantly accepting the facility and then making the best of it by selling the air rights for a stadium, it seems that pushing the stadium plan forward is the City's top priority, and the need for a Green Line maintenance facility just provides cover.

Perhaps most important, the MBTA facility would justify taking the private properties needed for the stadium, which wouldn't be legally or politically acceptable if openly done to benefit Kraft.

Editor's Note (JN): The (new) Somerville News website is up - you can comment on stories over there.


Somebody should flat-out tell Kraft to build his soccer-specific playpen adjacent to Gillette Stadium on land he already owns in Foxboro. If Foxboro is good enough for the Patriots and Kraft's Patriot Place mini-mall, than it is good enough for the Revolution. Somerville needs commercial development that amounts to more than a stadium that will primarily hire seasonal, part-time, minimum wage-earning ticket-takers, drink-slingers and hot dog-grillers for approximately 50 out of the 365 days in the year.

Moreover, Alderman White and Chamber of Commerce President Mackey have legitimate concerns about the alleged "independence" of the study of the best development plan for the Inner Belt district, given that the plan has been partially funded - to the tune of $200,000 - by the very same people who wish to build a soccer-specific stadium in the area: the Krafts. "Biased" doesn't begin to describe how skewed the findings of the Kraft-financed study are likely to be.

Mayor Curtatone is poised to sell-out the City of Somerville to outside interests. Worse, he's apparently willing to do so behind closed doors. Here's hoping that more local political and business leaders - as well as Somerville residents - raise their voices in indignation against the too-cozy dealings between Mayor Curtatone and the Kraft Group.

Editor's Note (JN): The (new) Somerville News website is up - you can comment on stories over there.


Anyone who is trumpeting construction of a soccer-specific stadium in Somerville's Inner Belt area as a catalyst for further economic development should take a long, hard look at what has transpired in the neighborhood surrounding Nationals Park in Washington, DC.

Nationals Park - home of Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals - was billed as an economic development engine for the largely run-down DC neighborhood in which it was built. Such development hasn't taken place.

Buildings surrounding the ballpark - both pre-existing structures and those newly-built by Lerner Enterprises, owners of the baseball team - remain empty. Construction and renovation of additional buildings has been put on hold because developers can't secure financing without leases in place, leases that aren't forthcoming. Lots next to the ballpark look to remain empty for the forseeable future.

At the end of the day, the D.C. Council's grand plans for a a mixed-use district of entertainment, retail and office components anchored by the 81 home dates of a Major League Baseball team have not been realized.

Take heed, Somerville.

Editor's Note (JN): The (new) Somerville News website is up - you can comment on stories over there.

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