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Judge rejects bid for immediate halt to White Stadium planning

A Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled today that the proposed $80-million renovation of White Stadium to support a professional women's soccer team would actually expand public access both to the stadium and nearby park areas and gave the city and the nascent soccer team permission to continue.

In her ruling, Judge Sarah Weyland Ellis said the Conservancy had not proven it would likely win its case and rejected arguments that the proposal was an illegal transformation of public land into a private facility and violated the terms of the bequest that led to the stadium's original construction in the 1940s, and so denied its request to immediately block all planning work on the project - including putting a formal notice on the land's Registry of Deeds records.

Ellis wrote that an agreement between the Wu administration and Boston Unity Soccer Partners to split the cost of the renovation and expansion work was hardly the abandonment of part of a cherished public park through a takeover by a private entity, that, in fact, the amount of time the stadium would be restricted to soccer ticket holders was fairly limited and that in total, public access to the site would actually increase, both through improvements to the stadium itself and creation of a new restaurant area in the Grove just south of the stadium, which is currently off limits to the public.

She continued that the public-private partnership does not violate the will of George Robert White, whose bequest helped buy the land for the stadium and then build it. While true that his will directs that money from his bequest be used only for fully public projects, the agreement between the city and Boston Unity involves no money from his fund mandate that the works be "for the use and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the City," plainly does not require unlimited or exclusive public access without limitation." She noted the will gave two examples of such uses that would be allowable even though they would not be fully open to the public all the time: Zoos and aquariums.

The Stadium Property, to date, has not allowed unrestricted or exclusive public access. Instead, BPS manages White Stadium's public access hours to 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, subject to BPS events. The Proposed Project would expand public access to weekends and until 10 p.m. daily, with the support BUSP maintenance and security personnel. The Proposed Project would also expand the usable hours of the playing surface from 250 hours to at least 750 hours annually. BUSP games and practices would only consume a fraction of this time. Next, the Proposed Project would provide public access to the East Grandstand and the Grove, where presently, the public has no access. Finally, the Proposed Project would create additional spaces within the Stadium Property for public use, such as bathrooms and kitchens that function year-round, covered seating, and an entry plaza, and additional areas for the use of BPS students, including locker rooms and bathrooms, a conditioning suite and sports medicine facilities.

She added that "the legal character of White Stadium as a public facility does not change merely because a private party also benefits from its use."

Complete ruling (9.9M PDF).

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Comments

with little or no experience in probate or Real Estate law.

Appeal.

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What makes her a political hack? That it wasn't the outcome you wanted?

They can appeal, but the ruling would be for "abuse of discretion" and, agree or disagree with the project, reading the briefs by both sides made it pretty clear this was going to be the outcome. The ENC just had the much weaker argument.

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This will be overturned at the Appellate Court.

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But sure, call the judge a hack.

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Patients in recovery at the Shattuck and kids stuck in poverty and violence would really get some normalcy and happineas if there were day passes given to them to the games. It's already sad they can never afford to sit at Fenway Park to see a Sox game with all the entitled class with comfortable cash flow.

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Given how the Sox played last year and will likely play this year, $10 will get you into Fenway from a sc—one of the guys, who sell the tickets to the sold out events. (Source: did this for the last series this year.)

Cold day in April, too.

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do they still stand outside the cask and sell hard copy tickets? isn’t it all through your phone now? does this make the boys from brighton (donny) that used to sell all that tix out there obsolete?

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They almost always release a a large block of low price tickets for sale to anybody with a student ID a couple hours before the first pitch. My kids have gone to several games this way, using their own money, for less than the cost of going to a movie.

The only people you can get to go watch a women’s soccer game are homeless and impressionable children.

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Wouldn't it be awesome if we could have a crowd and traffic and MBTA and noise test by having a mock trial now? Conduct one with a few games and full capacity stadium crowd at days and times when the games will take place. Maybe a few. All abutters of Franklin Park in its entirety stay home while it is happening. The next day, have abutters submit a survey of their experience when they were home during the time.

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We don't live in the Truman show.

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I can't find a link to the proposed lease or the original rfp.

Gone through the online docs with no luck.

Appreciate any assistance.

TY

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