|Louis thinks to himself that it could be a Wonderland world.|
About week and a half ago the Revere Journal published a story stating that talks have been escalating between Revere and the New England Revolution over a proposed stadium at the site of the now defunct Wonderland Dog Track. The initial story was vague at best, however today the Boston Globe, WBUR, and FOX 25 are also reporting this story.
It has long been known that the Krafts do not want to pay for land or infrastructure but would be willing to front the construction costs for the stadium. The information coming out in the past couple of weeks is pointing towards some of the needs for the Krafts to possibly be coming to fruition. According to the Boston Globe Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo is currently negotiating with Suffolk Downs over mitigation payments as part of the proposed casino complex at the Suffolk Downs site. Suffolk Downs currently owns the Wonderland property. If Mayor Rizzo is able to negotiate for the land, it could be the land deal that the Krafts are looking for.
A major infrastructure overhaul is needed in the are which is notorious for traffic issues. As part of the Cesar’s Palace proposal for Suffolk Downs much needed roadway improvements in the area could be covered. This could be the other piece of the puzzle for help the long awaited stadium for the Revolution move forward.
The current benefits to this site are numerous, it is in an urban area, close to the city, easily accessible by public transit and in an up and coming area in need of revitalization. The proposed site currently sits across from the Wonderland MBTA Blue Line station and is also abutted by a Commuter Rail line where a new station could potentially be added. Conservatively the average travel time by the subway would be 30-40 minutes from different locations throughout the Boston area.
We support the proposal for a potential Rever stadium. Wonderland has the potential to be a truly unique location for a Stadium in MLS and in major sports nationwide with it’s beachfront location. The idea of pre/post match parties on the beach and in they many beachside bars is an enticing idea. The beach is only a short walk and would quite clearly be the center of gameday activities. While the previously proposed Somerville site is slightly more accessible and in a trendier neighborhood, Wonderland has more potential to have an impact on an area in need of fresh development. Revere has been lacking the the luster it should have as a beachside community and bringing in fresh money and entertainment options could push it forward. A stadium in Revere could be the death of the tailgate for Revs fans, however the ability to have a unique beachside pre-game would rival many of the other successful MLS supporters cultures.
Some worry about the effect that this would have on the youth soccer population. Well I don’t think we should really worry about it. The South Shore groups my dwindle but it opens up access to the North Shore. We would hope that with the opening of a Wonderland stadium that the youth soccer/family friendly demographic would slip from the number 1 priority for the front office and the the 18-35 year old demographic that has been successfully harnessed by teams such as Seattle, Toronto, Portland will move to the top spot.
Some suburban fans will complain that it will be too hard to get to if it is in the city… well that’s what we in the city have been dealing with for 17 years. Get over it. These are the same people that say if people in the city were really interested and dedicated in this team they would find a way to make it here, I turn the tables to you Joe Suburban Soccer Fan.
There of course needs to be some skepticism. There is no plan yet, this is just sticking the toe in the NIMBY waters so far. It is also fair to be wary of the timing… it seems to all to often that potential stadium news comes out at season ticket time. That being said this is the most plausible and actually covered by legit media news we have seen in years. While it is also political season Mayor Rizzo of Revere has only recently been elected is is not up for re-election until 2015. I think there is something to this… but again this is the Revs we are talking about… I’m still not renewing my season tickets, we should be cautiously optimistic but lets not get elated until there are definite public plans and shovels hit the ground.