SWL: Officials talking to non-profit about potential soccer stadium at EMC site (Updated)

by beth on February 19, 2019

Last week, I shared Town officials were meeting to working with a potential new business for the DELL/EMC site* – New England Sports for Women. At the time, I didn’t have any details. Metrowest Daily News/Southborough Wicked Local reported some of the details on Friday evening.

According to the article, the project would bring a large sports facility and soccer stadium to Southborough. Another story shares positive feedback from the community. But the stories also make clear that the organization is eyeing multiple towns at this stage.

On Friday night, SWL posted:

A newly-formed Newton nonprofit is eyeing land off Interstate 495 to build a 13,000-seat stadium that would host professional and semi-professional women’s soccer games.

The space could even support international exhibition games and qualifying tournaments, according to New England Sports for Women.

The organization met informally with town officials this week to discuss land owned by data-storage and cloud-computing Dell EMC on the Southborough-Westborough line. Much of the 445 acres is undeveloped, but infrastructure changes have been completed to spur development.

Anna Siedzik, chief engagement officer for New England Sports, said this week’s meeting with Southborough town officials was arranged to discuss the project and options for the property, which has long been touted for its development potential.

“We’ve been looking and talking with different municipalities that are interested and supportive of the project,” she said. “Some are in Central Mass. Some are not.”

You can read more on that here

A followup post shares that news of the project was “well-received by residents and visitors who spoke to the Daily News on Saturday.”

The possibility of a 13,000-seat soccer stadium coming to Southborough and Westborough is being cheered by locals.

Posted by MetroWest Daily News on Saturday, February 16, 2019

The quotes in that story are reactions to the concept of the stadium. (But I have to note that while quotes were collected at Southborough establishments, it doesn’t seem clear that anyone they quoted actually lives in town.) You can read the feedback they posted here.

What jumped out at me in Friday’s story was the project’s relevance to two non-binding Citizen Petition Articles headed to Town Meeting next month. One hopes to build partnerships with recreation facilities. 

The connection to the first is through the other non-stadium facilities NESW might build on the site. SWL reports:

The facility would also incorporate a wellness center, educational classrooms, public art and performance spaces, indoor training and lockers and adjacent competition/training fields, according to the organization.

Resident Jack Barron’s Article looks to push selectmen to form a special committee to develop recreation partnerships. [Editor’s Note: Barron is a MySouthborough sponsor, paying to advertise that initiative on the blog.]  

Barron’s effort is in response to Recreation’s requests last year for funding the creation and maintenance of Town fields. Some of the controversial passed and some failed.

Earlier this month, he explained to selectmen that the proposed committee’s focus would be different than the Recreation Commission’s. It would specifically work to negotiate use of other organization’s fields and facilities. It could also encourage private organizations to build facilities with a deal for the Town to have some access for use. He cited a recreation facility built in Wellesley as an example where that was accomplished.**

Barron’s stated goal is to support resident’s athletic field use needs while reducing the need for the Town to build and maintain them. You can read more about the Article from my previous coverage here.

The other related Article is through NESW’s reported nonprofit status. A Citizen Petition is seeking to increase payments to the Town from nonprofits that own a significant amount of Southborough land. I’ll be covering the PILOT Article and officials’ recent talks about PILOT issues in a separate post tomorrow morning. So, stay tuned.

*As many readers are aware, the EMC owned site is a parcel straddling the Westborough border. It was initially intended to be a 10-building office park on 445 acre campus for the mammoth tech company. But the project was still making its way through all of the necessary approvals from both Towns when news of company layoffs then later news of a DELL merger were announced. Since then the only real news on the campus was that the roads were being completed.

**You can read media coverage of the Wellesly Sports Facility agreement here.

Updated (2/19/19 11:33 am): I just realized that the story accidentally posted in the midst of me finalizing the draft! That means that I’ve made a number of edits.

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