20 Citizen Plaintiffs, Emerald Necklace Conservancy Challenging Proposed Redevelopment of White Stadium by For-Profit Sports Investors, Seeking Preliminary Injunction to Stop City’s Rushed Stadium Demolition

BOSTON — During a 3 p.m. hearing in Suffolk County Superior Court on Wednesday, plaintiffs from the neighborhoods surrounding Boston’s historic Franklin Park, along with park advocates at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, will face off against the City of Boston and Boston Unity Soccer Partners in the first hearing on a lawsuit that aims to stop the unconstitutional privatization of White Stadium: public land that is held in a permanent trust for the residents of Boston.

The City of Boston has already received bids to demolish portions of White Stadium and the existing athletic field and track as soon as this month, as part of a proposal by Boston Unity Soccer Partners LLC, a for-profit private company, to redevelop and privatize the stadium, its grounds, and surrounding public parkland. During Wednesday’s hearing, attorneys for the plaintiffs will seek a preliminary injunction to stop the City’s rush to demolish the stadium, which would displace BPS student athletes and community events for the next two years.

WHAT: Superior Court Hearing on White Stadium Lawsuit

WHO: Citizen Plaintiffs, Emerald Necklace Conservancy Leaders, Neighborhood Residents

WHEN: Wednesday, March 6 at 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: Suffolk County Courthouse, Courtroom 314, 3 Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108


Many members of the Franklin Park community are deeply concerned about the proposal by the City of Boston and Boston Unity Soccer Partners LLC, a for-profit private company, to redevelop and privatize White Stadium, its grounds, and surrounding public parkland that is used especially by the Environmental Justice communities of Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and Mattapan. This proposal would grant a 30-year lease of public trust property to a professional for-profit sports team; build dedicated private facilities and other uses like offices, corporate box suites, restaurants and shops; and displace Boston Public School students and the general public from the stadium for 20 games and 20 practices, on three out of every four Fridays and Saturdays from April-November. The proposal would also displace BPS football teams from the stadium for their entire regular season, and limit the availability of one of the most-used free public areas of Franklin Park for music and cultural festivals, basketball and tennis games, and cross country running meets.

Members of the community around Franklin Park are deeply concerned about:

  • the unconstitutional privatization of public land;
  • the displacement of BPS student-athletes and the local community from White Stadium and Franklin Park;
  • the absence of a realistic transportation plan for 20 annual game days that will draw more than 11,000 attendees to the stadium; and
  • the lack of adequate community input throughout an incredibly fast-moving redevelopment process.

White Stadium, an open space for public recreation and public school sporting events, has been held in trust for over 74 years for the beneficiaries of the White Fund Trust — the residents of Boston. The citizens lawsuit alleges that the proposed redevelopment of White Stadium by Boston Unity Soccer Partners, LLC “would not only violate the White Fund Trust and [the Public Land and Protection Act, Article 97, of the Massachusetts constitution] by transferring public trust land to private use and excluding members of the public from the Project Site, including some Boston Public School sports teams who currently use White Fund Stadium, it would fundamentally alter the nature and feel of a significant portion of Franklin Park during the majority of fair weather weekends each year.”

The Mayor’s Office has identified $50 million in taxpayer funds for the improvement of White Stadium, while Boston Unity Soccer Partners LLC would contribute only $30 million to the project, less than half the total. The soccer team’s contribution would only be used on the portions of the project that the team would control with a 30-year, year-round lease. Advocates agree that the $50 million in taxpayer funds are well spent renovating the current facilities, in line with the city’s own approved Franklin Park Action Plan. Rather than turning over White Stadium to a private group of investors, they support renovating the stadium and surrounding areas, in thoughtful coordination with the surrounding park, for the benefit of BPS student-athletes and the Environmental Justice communities surrounding Franklin Park.

Leave A Comment