Fenway Financing Deal Moves Forward

Wednesday, July 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers and the Boston Red Sox agreed Tuesday night on a financing plan for a replacement for Fenway Park.

Boston would contribute $140 million for land acquisition and site preparation, as well as $72 million for a parking garage, while Massachusetts would pay $100 million on infrastructure costs, such as road and subway improvements.

The Red Sox would pay $352 million for construction of the 44,000-seat ballpark, which would be adjacent to the site currently occupied by Fenway Park, which opened in 1912 and holds slightly more than 33,000. It is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues.

To make the $12 million annual payment on the bonds to be taken out by the city for its portion of the cost, a $5 parking surcharge will be levied on spaces around the park on game days, as well as a 5 percent surcharge on general admission tickets and a 15 percent surcharge on luxury box tickets.

The deal would leave the team $28 million shy of money it says it needs for soil removal on the site of a new ballpark.

The terms of the deal — particular the ticket surcharges and the need to look for private financing — left Red Sox chief executive office John Harrington concerned.

``It may be impossible to overcome,'' Harrington said, adding: ``I hope we will be able to open a new ballpark in 2003 or 2004.''

A public hearing on the agreement is likely to be held Friday. And the Legislature is planning to convene Saturday, two days before its scheduled adjournment, to act on the deal.

Assuming a bill is approved by the House and Senate and signed by the governor, the project most be approved by two-third of Boston's 13-member City Council. Seven council members have publicly opposed the plan.