Fenway Restoration Controlled, Officials Say

Oct 30, 2008 9:42 AM. All work by , , ,

PUBLISHED by the Fenway News

BOSTON—Over the next six months, residents and visitors to the Fenway area can expect to see, hear and interact with what project representatives called a "decent-sized" makeover of Fenway Park. The renovation will only be a slight intrusion upon the community, Red Sox spokespeople said.

The project plans were unveiled to a room of about 40 community members at an open meeting held yesterday evening in the Absolut Clubhouse attached to Fenway Park. The discussion was organized to prepare the ballpark's neighbors for disruptions that come with construction, said Fenway Affairs officer Larry Cancro.

"There are inconveniences to this process," Cancro said, "and we always find that it's best to explain...what that's gonna be so we can minimize the impacts."

The project officially began the day after the Red Sox's season closer. A majority of the renovation is scheduled to complete in late March, while other parts may run into early April. The project is being overseen by developer Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse (SBER), who did work on Fenway in 2002.

SBER spokesperson Tom Kugel said he was very confident that he will meet his deadline, saying that he has never missed one yet. The bulk of the project is due on March 27, just ten days before the Red Sox season opener at Fenway, which drew a chuckle out of many of the attendees who are too familiar with the inability of Boston contractors to meet deadline.

Local business owners can expect to see dumpsters and building materials on all sides of the ballpark. Trucks and heavy machinery will be coming in and out, mostly around mid-morning, with the possibility of others later in the afternoon. Bill Olsen of William A. Berry & Son, Inc. (WBS) said they do not plan to work past 4 p.m., however, contractors may decide to turn the ballpark lights on at 6 a.m. once daylight savings begins.

Contractors and ballpark officials repeatedly stated that the construction will not interfere with parking in Fenway. Workers from WBS said they may have 40-50 people working on any given day, which would normally mean more metered spots taken by contractors and pickup trucks. Kugel and Cancro promised that every measure has been taken to locate parking facilities for construction workers.

“We’ve written in every single one of their contracts that they have to provide offsite parking for their employees,” Kugel said. “I think we’ve got it fairly well covered.” He also mentioned that SBER will be circulating information to locals on how to report parking problems to the BTD. Fenway Park security guards will also be monitoring the metered spots in the morning to assure that sub-contractors are not occupying visitor spots, Kugel said.

Bob Richard of SBER mentioned earlier that while plans are in place, infractions could still arise.

“They have to tell us where they’re going to be parked,” Richard said. “So far, we haven’t gotten a whole lot of answers…but we told them ‘No parking around Fenway Park.’” At one point or another, Richard, Kugel and Cancro all reminded attendees that the plan is not perfect.

Janet Marie Smith, a planning executive for both SBER and the Red Sox, said that they’ve done everything they can to behave like good neighbors.

“We’ve worked hard to make sure there’s a minimum of one lane,” Smith said, “and where we can, we’ll put [the dumpsters and raw materials] on our sidewalks.”

Smith said she does not forsee any complaints due to noise and did not receive any during last year’s restoration, which she said was of similar size to this year’s.

“We’ve been blessed that our neighborhood is pretty tolerant. It is one of the virtues of having night clubs as neighbors,” Smith said.

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