The Commonwealth’s proposed giveaway of 7 acres of valuable public trust parkland in Brighton along the Charles River is the sweetest of sweetheart deals, despite what Adrian Walker argues in his Nov. 21 Metro column “Leveling the playing field.” The field in question is Daly Field, and it’s effectively being given away to Simmons College and a neighborhood group for what could be the next 30 years.
Simmons will build a $5 million facility for its athletic teams. The good news is that the college will allow the Brighton High football team and the Little League to use the field. The bad news, for taxpayers, is that Simmons is getting the land for free.
While Simmons argues that the facility will be open to the public, there is no public or street parking and no public transit, and the hours would be severely limited. What exactly would the public’s access be?
Before public parkland is transferred to a private entity, the public has a right to know: What is the fair market value of 7 acres of riverfront property, and what is reasonable public access? Unfortunately we still do not know.
Brighton kids deserve a better playing field, and we have great respect for the Brighton legislators who have fought for their constituents to make this happen. But disposing of 7 acres of riverfront property in this way would set a bad precedent. For much less money the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation could clean up Daly Field and make it available to everyone. Why isn’t that the better deal?