Soccer? In Somerville?
Aug 10, 2007

According to The Somerville News, Somerville is being considered as a site for a new soccer stadium. This stadium would become home turf for the New England Revolution. At the moment, I have mixed feelings about this. There would certainly be advantages to having a sport stadium in Somerville. For one, having it would bring a lot of attention and money to the city. Just the fact that we're being considered for the stadium I'm sure will help raise people's awareness of Somerville which, in turn, will probably bring some increased investment in the city. Not to mention the tax revenues on everything that's sold at a stadium, parking, and incidentals bought by fans while they're here. And certainly Somerville has a large soccer fan base. There's even a grocery store called 'Gol!!!' on Somerville Ave., not too far from our condo. Obviously a sports stadium can be a big money maker for the city. But there are also negatives to this. First and foremost, we're basically in Boston here, and Boston sports fans are ...an interesting bunch. I don't know how much overlap there is between Revolution fans and Sox fans, but just ask anyone who lives in Kenmore Sq. how they like their neighborhood on game nights. I sure wouldn't want to see the same thing happen to whatever neighborhood in Somerville gets the stadium when the Revolution has a home game (and I'm sure the people who live there have even stronger feelings about it). There's also the question of where the funding is going to come from. A whole lot of professional sports stadiums are subsidized by the cities they're in, and I really don't have any desire to pay more taxes just so that we can have a soccer stadium. Then there's the issue of space. Somerville isn't that large of a city, and unless they're going to pave over some park land, building this thing will require demolishing some existing houses and/or businesses. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but what if the people in the proposed spot don't want to leave? Will the stadium simply go away, or will eminent domain be exercised to force them out? And what about traffic? I don't think there's a single city in Massachusetts with well designed roads. Can we handle the influx of traffic that a stadium will bring? Or is Somerville going to have to basically shut down the roads to everyone but fans on game nights like certain areas of Boston? So, like I said, I have mixed feelings on this. My general inclination is that that bad would outweigh the good, but I don't really know enough about the issues to make any sort of real determination. Seems like it would be a good topic for a municipal referendum, if such a thing is possible.
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