By Gregg Krupa, Globe Staff, 06/23/99
Preparing for the stretch drive to build a new stadium in Foxborough, the New England Patriots have sent a newsletter to all 6,000 households in town, emphasizing financial benefits and offering the team's explanation on other issues.
The first edition of Stadium Update will be followed, periodically, by others, according to Andrew Wasynczuk , the Patriots' vice president for business operations. Voters in the town are expected to consider zoning and lease issues for the new stadium sometime later this year.
While most officials in Foxborough and, apparently, many residents, have favored keeping the Patriots in town, the team obviously is taking nothing for granted at the end of a process that has been full of pitfalls.
NEW PATRIOTS STADIUM PLANS UNVEILED
An artist's rendering of a new stadium for the New England Patriots in Foxborough. The team unveiled their plans today.
[ Larger image | NECN Video ]
"The primary purpose is to announce to the town some of the plans unfolding as part of the stadium development,'' Andrew Wasynczukcq, Patriots vice president for business operations, said in an interview.
"Clearly, there is going to be a big impact on the community, and it makes all of the sense in the world that they are fully alerted to what we are going to be doing.''
On May 25, the state officially approved $70 million in spending on infrastructure improvement around the stadium that the Patriots pledge to build for about $225 million. The team and NFL officials hope the new stadium will be ready for the 2001 season, although no date has been set for the start of construction.
The Patriots say in the first issue of Stadium Update that the development will result in at least $1 million annually in fees for the town, including a 10 percent administrative fee to be applied to the hourly rate of public safety officers who work paid details for stadium events. Wasynczuk said the $1 million will be somewhat of an increase over the fees paid from the current Foxboro Stadium. The team pays the town a fee, ostensibly for use of the land, equal to about $1 for every person who attends any event at the stadium, he said. A similar formula would continue in a new stadium.
The Patriots also advise town residents that the new stadium will require a 50 percent increase in full- and part-time employees, and that the construction also would create jobs for residents.
Stadium Update also includes a statement, and an apology, from owner Robert Kraft.
"Like any close relationship, the bond between the Patriots and Foxborough has not always been easy or simple,'' Kraft says. "Recent events have been especially difficult. The town was an innocent bystander during a process in which we were fighting for the club's long-term survival. For that, I am sorry.''
Town voters, probably at an as-yet-unscheduled special town meeting later this year, will be asked to approve zoning and lease changes that would allow the new stadium to be built on land adjacent to the current Foxboro Stadium. The zoning changes will provide for a larger stadium, Wasynczuk said, and the lease will provide for a stadium on the new site.
Under terms of the town charter, a town meeting is required for the changes. It would likely be held as a special session, separate from the annual town meeting.
The town also will be impacted by significant road construction in the area, to improve access to the new stadium for fans. Some of the road improvements are intended to provide special access to fans in the so-called luxury suites, which will raise significant revenue for the franchise.
Residents are advised in Stadium Update that the team will release a traffic management plan shortly after the site plan is complete, and that consultants for the team have been meeting with North Street residents to discuss concerns about an access road in that area.
A trailer park in the area must be removed. And the newsletter advises residents that an advisory committee on the park, established by the Legislature, is continuing to meet, and that the team has offered to pay the relocation costs for any of the 74 families who wish to have their homes moved, or to buy the homes outright.
This story ran on page E06 of the Boston Globe on 06/23/99.
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.