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There are pros and cons to every news story, but right now lines are being drawn for a Wonderland soccer-specific stadium proposal that doesn't even exist...yet
The long and the short of it is that Wonderland is not real...not yet. It is just another in a series of New England Revolution white rabbits. Bad puns aside, there are reasons we should be excited by the inkling of a soccer-specific stadium, even if it is in Revere. Wonderland, which is approximately 40 minutes via MBTA from South Station and 15 minutes via car, is much closer to Boston proper than Foxboro, obviously. So while people are complaining that it is not "as good" as the Somerville location, it's still better than nothing. Beggars can't be choosers, right? Yet somehow, for every complimentary comment about the possibility of Wonderland, there is still a negative brought up.
Yes, Revere does make it harder for people on the South Shore and possibly in Metro West to get to Revolution games; but, if more of them were making it now, we might not even be discussing five-hundred word articles from various publications with any sort of depth. Yes, Revere is further away from the Portuguese and Brazilian strongholds of Fall River and New Bedford. However, it is far closer to the Portuguese, Brazilian, Italian, Cambodian, Cape Verdean, Colombian, Mexican communities in Somerville, Revere, Lynn, Everett, Chelsea, and East Boston. Population-wise, Revere alone is about three times the size of Foxboro, and this is without adding in the populace in those aforementioned areas. But before we get too excited or too angry - as Revolution supporters tend to do - we have to remember this is still very early in the preliminary stages.
But we worry. We worry that a Wonderland location could potentially be the death of pre-game tailgating, but just a few steps away, there are several bars along Revere Beach, and even a little conclave of restaurants just past the rotary. We worry about the lack of other entertainment options around Wonderland; for now, only Revere Beach and an old strip mall feature, which is hardly comparable to Patriot Place. However, the MBTA does have plans to develop the area around Wonderland Station as a Transit Oriented Development, but that has been in the works since 2007. The MBTA also has plans to extend the Blue Line past Wonderland Station, the northern terminus for that line, on into Lynn and Salem, which would add two more urban communities with easy access to the Revs. Yet we all know how quickly MBTA plans come to fruition - just ask the people of Roxbury who are still awaiting the Silver Line's light rail cars. We worry about the traffic taking car-riders a few hours longer to get to Revere than it does to Foxboro, but at least with Revere there would be the option of public transportation - either via bus or subway.
Yet all this worry, so far, is just us worrying for worries-sake because, as of this point, Wonderland is still just a dream. Dan Rizzo, the Mayor of Revere, seems to want it to happen. Brian Biello has admitted that the talks are not completely fabricated. Other people from the typically tight-lipped Revolution have at least admitted that they are interested in the project. Even Supporters Groups and casuals are showing excitement. It seems like a win-win for people who actually have some interest in the team.
But even more importantly, people from outside of those more vested groups and organizations are taking notice. When The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald mention a stadium, it is good for the Revolution. Additionally, other news broadcasts are mentioning Robert Kraft as the owner of the New England Patriots AND the Revolution - minor progress.
It's keeping them in the news that is the tricky part. Just like the South Boston waterfront and Somerville Brick Bottom area before it, this could end up being nothing more than talk. This could potentially be that SSS-talk that comes every year around the season ticket renewal push. But perhaps, just maybe, this could be the leading step toward a long-discussed but never realized re-brand and reboot. In the meantime, let's not go over-the-top over what so far is nothing more than talking heads doing what they do best: talking.
This could be something else. It could be something more. It could be the first step in building something more than just a soccer-specific stadium; or it could be nothing more than another good idea that never equates to anything more than that.