Football

May 20, 1999

At its height in the 1970s, municipal and state governments across the land were easily persuaded to do whatever was necessary to help teams build new stadiums. If it meant burning their cash, adopting new zoning laws or taking property from its owners at bargain-basement prices, so be it.

But the principles remained intact, if not so automatically enforced. That’s why residents of a trailer park on the land occupied by the old Foxboro Stadium, the harness race track, barns for the horses and parking lots, were preparing for battle.

The land on which all of the above rested belongs to Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The state legislature crafted a bill that would require the 74 trailer park residents to relocate their homes or sell them to Kraft at fair market value.

The home owners were already paying Kraft $135 per month for use of the land.

By the spring of 2000, eviction notices were sent out. Nearly all the trailer park residents chose to sell and vacate the land ahead of a July deadline.

Meanwhile, in Boston, the Red Sox were seeking $200 million from the state to help them build a new Fenway Park across the street from the old park.

That idea was whisked away when John Henry and associates bought the ballclub in the winter of 2001-2002. The club proceeded to spend hundreds of millions in upgrades and rechristened Fenway as America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.