As one of its agenda items, the CPNA (City Point Neighborhood Association) hosted Matthew DiRoberto at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, June 14.
DiRoberto is from Boston; he heads up a partnership between Immersive Productions and Egan Productions of Fright Dome Las Vegas. At the CPNA meeting, he presented a proposal to put on an immersive, interactive evening event called “Fright Island”. “Fright Island” will be located on the grassy parade ground inside Fort Independence. It will be a for-profit, ticketed event. DiRoberto said that this event will not interfere in any way with existing operations of the Fort and the CIA (Castle Island Association).
Since no specific, formal contract for “Fright Island” in the Fort has been negotiated, some of the following details are estimates only. If approved, DiRoberto anticipates putting on 18 “Fright Nights” during September and October. He thinks this will attract 15,000 participants – 700 at each performance for 18 evenings – at $30+ per admission. Liquor will be served under a strict, two-drink limit; parking at Bayside’s lot and a free shuttle bus will mitigate traffic problems at the Castle Island parking area. The State Police will provide necessary police details.
For comparison, the content of “Fright Island” will resemble Spooky World in New Hampshire. “Fright Island” will be an annual fall event. When questioned, DiRoberto agreed that he is aiming for a contract that extends over “a number of years”. During his presentation, he listed eight items as collateral benefits to South Boston, including provision of attractive entertainment for our millennial residents, increasing patronage at local businesses, and additional support for several local non-profits.
The CPNA then opened the meeting up for a question-and-answer session. The questions were courteously offered but pointed; the tone of the questioners was generally negative. However, one gentleman expressed keen interest in the event, and in finding out more about “Fright Island”. DiRoberto handled the questions well.
Bill Spain, President of the CIA, took the floor. He emphatically stated the CIA’s opposition to the “Fright Island” event. He made the case that Castle Island and Fort Independence are a historic site, as well as a popular family and tourist gathering area in South Boston. The CIA Board had unanimously voted against “Fright Island” at their own recent meeting. One CIA Board member (Sheila King) suggested that “Fright Island” should be located on City Hall Plaza instead.
South Boston Online agrees with Bill Spain and the governing body of the CIA. Any event such as “Fright Island”, although it provides enjoyable amusement for many, will cause a nuisance on Castle Island and in the surrounding neighborhoods. What is far more important, Fort Independence is a legitimate historic site – amusement events, however well-managed, do not fit with the traditions and historic significance of Castle Island and Fort Independence.
Please take “Fright Island” to the City Hall Plaza. The event will benefit from that central location.