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  • Writer's pictureDylan Kelly

Massachusetts Lawmakers Push for Major Economic Development, Including a New Soccer Stadium in Everett

PC: New England Revolution - The Kraft Group - A conceptual rendering of a proposed new soccer stadium in Everett.

In a significant move poised to reshape the economic and cultural landscape of Massachusetts, the state Senate is set to pass a $2.8 billion economic development package. This package, expected to pass as soon as Thursday, includes a major provision allowing the Kraft Group to construct a new soccer stadium for the New England Revolution near the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett. This provision, notably absent from a similar bill passed by the House last month, marks a significant step forward for the project.

Key Features of the Senate Bill

The $2.8 billion package incorporates several initiatives from Governor Maura Healey’s $3.5 billion economic development plan, with a focus on boosting life sciences, clean energy, and climate-related businesses in Massachusetts. However, the Senate's version proposes less funding for these initiatives compared to Healey’s original proposal.

State Senator Barry Finegold, chairperson of the Legislature’s economic development committee, emphasized the strength of the Senate bill and the collaborative process with the House, stating, "What’s important is that we are doing our version and the House will do their version. Then we will come together," according to the Boston Globe.

The New England Revolution Stadium Plan

A focal point of the Senate bill is the authorization for the Kraft Group to build a $500 million soccer stadium on the Everett waterfront. This stadium, which could seat up to 25,000 fans, aims to host New England Revolution games, other sporting events, concerts, and community festivals. This development follows the Revolution's long-standing use of the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, which they share with the New England Patriots.

The proposal includes removing 43 acres in Everett from a Designated Port Area, a state designation that restricts waterfront parcels to industrial use. This area, currently home to a decommissioned section of a power plant acquired by Wynn Resorts, is situated near the casino and offers a prime location for the new stadium.

Economic and Community Impact

The economic development bill outlines $2.4 billion in state borrowing for various investments, including life sciences, clean energy, and climate-related businesses, along with $350 million in tax credits and incentives. The Senate's version includes several community-focused provisions such as a $10 million internship tax credit program, $40 million for public infrastructure projects, and $100 million for financial assistance to rural areas.

Significantly, the bill allocates $115 million for grants aimed at growing jobs in emerging technology sectors, including alternative protein sources. This initiative is designed to support the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s food science department. Additionally, the bill proposes $300 million in tax incentives for the climate-tech industry over ten years and $50 million in internship tax credits over five years.

Controversies and Opposition

Despite the bill’s potential benefits, it has faced opposition, particularly concerning the stadium proposal. Critics argue that the project results from backroom dealings and would undermine the state’s clean energy goals by repurposing land that could support the offshore wind industry. The Conservation Law Foundation’s president, Brad Campbell, highlighted concerns about increased traffic and the need for transit improvements in the area, according to the Boston Globe.

Looking Ahead

As the Senate and House work to reconcile their versions of the economic development package, the focus will be on balancing economic growth with community and environmental concerns. State Senator Finegold expressed optimism about the stadium project’s potential as an economic driver, noting the growing popularity of soccer, according to the Boston Globe.

Governor Healey has shown support for the stadium in Everett, and the legislative process will determine the final shape of this ambitious economic development plan. The outcome will significantly impact the future of Massachusetts' economic landscape and community development.


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