BOSTON-Despite the fact that the Boston City council put off a symbolic vote on a new Fenway Park at the last council hearing, the office of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino accuses the council of using the hearings to call attention to the issue. Legislation was signed in August that set the analysis in motion regarding the financial and environmental issues of a new ballpark.

“At that time we said this is work that will take six to eight months to do,” James Rooney, the mayor’s chief of staff, tells “We said it will be the spring before we have enough information to make an informed decision. They knew the work wasn’t done yet.”

Rooney acknowledges that the council is raising legitimate questions such as costs to the city, absorption of construction cost overruns and how many streets will be created by the ballpark but he insists that the city and the Red Sox need time to get their answers ready. As to councillor Maura Hennigan’s financial analysis stating that the new ballpark would cost the city $22 million per year, Rooney says that the analysis assumes interest rates will be higher than what the city will be able to negotiate.

“Financial analysis is all assumption driven,” he says. “You can change the assumptions a little if you want to get an answer you’re looking for.”

Rooney was also not relieved that the council decided to put off its vote on the new ballpark. “There is nothing for them to vote on yet,” he points out. “We need to present an economic development plan and within that answer all the financial questions. Those who wanted to vote wanted to send a message to potential buyers of the team but hopefully the maneuvering of a minority of the city council won’t deter anyone from buying the team.”

Opponents to the ballpark bill believe that the ballpark should not be built in the Fenway area. Councillor Hennigan has been most vocal in voicing her belief that not enough analysis was done on alternative sites. Rooney insists that 21 sites were evaluated and it was agreed that the Fenway area was the best one.

“This is a political dissatisfaction rather than a technical dissatisfaction,” says Rooney. “The opposition isn’t motivated by the issue but by a reason to oppose the mayor.”

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