Residents, community activists ask city to block Fenway Park project
By Meg Vaillancourt, Globe Staff, 04/13/00
More than 70 Fenway-area residents and community activists pleaded with
Boston city councilors last night to block the team's proposed new $600
million Fenway Park project.
Arguing that additional traffic generated by the 45,000-seat facility would
result in a range of environmental and public health hazards, the Fenway
residents urged city officials to oppose the Red Sox's bid for city funds and
to vote against using the city's eminent domain powers to acquire the proposed
14-acre ballpark site.
"The Fenway area already has one of the worst air quality records in the
city," James Morgan of the Fenway Action Coalition said as he pulled out a
"This is from my windows now. . . . Fenway streets are already gridlocked
and public transit is at capacity, so we cannot handle a bigger stadium and a
million more fans. With them will come more smog, asthma, and other health
Morgan was one of more than two dozen people who testified at last night's
hearing, sponsored by City Councilors Francis M. Roache, Chuck Turner
(Roxbury), and Michael P. Ross (Beacon Hill). While the topic was the health
issues associated with large development projects under way throughout the
city, much of the testimony was focused on the new ballpark plan.
"I think the Red Sox should go back to the drawing board," said Ross, who
represents the Fenway neighborhood. "If I had to vote on the land takings
today I would oppose them."
In place of the new ballpark, many residents urged the council to embrace
the so-called urban village plan promoted by the Fenway Community Development
Corporation. The plan calls for 1,500 housing units to be built above
ground-floor retail shops on both sides of Boylston Street, improved public
transit, a neighborhood school, and a community center.
"The Red Sox understand the council's and community's concerns and will
address them," said Red Sox spokeswoman Micho Spring. "We're committed to
increasing the use of public transit as we've done this season with free
shuttle service from Ruggles station."