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Franklin Park neighbors file suit to stop women's soccer development of White Stadium

Franklin Park residents file lawsuit to stop White Stadium development
Franklin Park residents file lawsuit to stop White Stadium development 01:53

BOSTON - The Emerald Necklace Conservancy and Boston neighbors who live near and enjoy those 1,100 acres of Franklin Park from the Back Bay through Brookline and Jamaica Plain to Franklin Park are taking on the city and the National Women's Soccer League. Their newly filed lawsuit claims the proposed redevelopment of the old damaged White Stadium is unconstitutional.

"I don't think you could find someone out there who doesn't want to improve White Stadium. It needs work!" admitted Karen Mauney-Brodek, of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.

But the plaintiffs say paying for it through a public-private partnership with a professional women's soccer team is not the solution.

"I'm a soccer fan. We're a soccer family. I'd love to have a women's soccer team in Boston. But it doesn't belong in our park. White Stadium should be for our kids and for the community," said plaintiff Caliga.

The city says White Stadium would continue to host Boston Public School athletics, camps, Special Olympics, festivals and graduations. But during 20 games per season, those 10,000 seats would be for soccer fans and the traffic associated with the matches.

"The park is already a very busy park. It's a very important park. There's the zoo; there's the golf course; there's all of the community cultural festivals that make Boston Boston," Mauney-Brodek added.

The soccer team would begin playing in 2026. Plaintiffs worry about the timeline and plan's impact on wildlife, green space and neighbors.

"I do think Franklin Park has a bright future, but we have to be really careful about how we treat it," Mauney-Brodek said.

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