City appears to reconsider White Stadium renovation

PARKSIDE—The City appears to be reconsidering former Mayor Thomas Menino’s and Suffolk Construction magnate John Fish’s proposal to renovate White Stadium, citing a need to protect “taxpayer dollars.”

Meanwhile, the organization behind the proposed renovation said it is hopeful to have the opportunity to work with the City on the project.

Former Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston Scholar Athletes (BSA), a nonprofit founded by Suffolk Construction company magnate John Fish, announced last summer a $45 million renovation plan for White Stadium to turn it into a year-round facility.

The proposal would add a turf field for more durable use; two paved parking lots; two buildings containing offices, locker rooms and classrooms; and a soft plastic bubble that would cover the field in the winter for basketball games.

Melina Schuler, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office, said in a statement that Mayor Martin Walsh is committed to growing and improving youth athletic opportunities in the city, but that the “White Stadium project is complex and will require significant City investment.”

“Plans to renovate the stadium were made under the previous administration, and Mayor Walsh and his team are doing their due diligence to consider a worthy proposal at the site that meets the needs of the community, while protecting taxpayer dollars,” she said.

BSA responded that it remains “excited” about the project and the impact it will have on student athletes.

“We hope to have an opportunity to work closely with the Mayor, his administration and City officials on the future of White Stadium,” said BSA.

Separately, Fish is heading the private committee that is seeking to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston, which would require new or upgraded athletics facilities around the city. It is unclear how the White Stadium plan, announced as an unexpected surprise last year, plays into that.

White Stadium was built in 1945 in the northern end of the park along Walnut Avenue and Sigourney Street and has been underused for years. It can hold only one event per day due to its grass turf and is not accessible to community use.

[This article has been updated with comment from the nonprofit Boston Scholar Athletes.]

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