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Residents fume at Sox plan

By Amber Bollman, Globe Correspondent, 7/28/2000

neighborhood presentation last night about the proposed design of the new Fenway Park project turned into an open assault on the Red Sox and local officials, as residents insisted that the ballpark's $665 million financing plan puts too great a burden on taxpayers.

Architects presented members of the Fenway Planning Task Force with maps and photos to illustrate plans for the ballpark but were repeatedly interrupted by opponents, who fumed about the $312 million in public loans and investment the deal includes.

Task force chairman Joseph Barton urged the crowd of nearly 200 to focus its comments on the architectural elements of the new Fenway design, which features more retail space around the perimeter of the ballpark.

But even members of the task force said the design of the park is not the most pressing issue.

''We're being asked to discuss the taste and texture of icing on a cake that may, in fact, be poisonous,'' said task force member Dolores Boogdanian to a round of applause from the crowd.

Residents attacked the Red Sox for not allowing the public more participation in the planning of the new Fenway Park. Every speaker who used the term ''ballpark'' was interrupted by a chorus of audience members shouting ''megaplex.''

''They think this is like `Field of Dreams,' and they are building in the middle of a big cornfield, where no one lives,'' said a resident who was dressed as a hot dog, calling himself Fenway Frank.

State Representative Byron Rushing, a South End Democrat whose district includes the Fenway, urged the task force, which will advise the Boston Redevelopment Authority on zoning for the project, to heed the demands of the neighborhood.

''This community must be the arbiter of its future, and its decisions must be listened to by city leaders,'' Rushing said.

Added City Councilor Michael P. Ross of Beacon Hill, who represents the Fenway: ''There is a large block of councilors who are willing to stand with the community.''

Barton and other members of the task force defended the public process that has taken place, saying the Red Sox has met with all the major neighborhood groups and incorporated their suggestions into the design of the ballpark.

''We told them that we don't want this big dead hole in the middle of the community,'' Barton said. ''The exterior must create some kind of life outside the park, not only on game days.''

This story ran on page C04 of the Boston Globe on 7/28/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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