On Wednesday, in a packed courtroom in the Suffolk County Courthouse in downtown Boston, the future of White Stadium started to get hashed out.

It was the first hearing in a lawsuit that could mandate additional reviews for the city project and derail plans for two years of renovations to the Franklin Park stadium, renovations aimed at accommodating a future National Women’s Soccer League team, Boston Public Schools’ students and the surrounding community.

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy and people from the neighborhoods surrounding Franklin Park are suing the city of Boston, the trustees of the George Robert White Fund and Boston Unity Soccer Partners, the group bringing an NWSL team to Boston.

At hand is whether the proposed renovation to White Stadium as part of a partnership between the city and Boston Unity Soccer Partners didn’t go through the proper review process and, more broadly, would transform a public space for private use.

“The challenges we have are not just the building itself, but also the transportation and the other prohibitions that take place when you privatize a space,” Louis Elisa, a founding member of the Franklin Park Coalition and a plaintiff in the suit, told GBH News. “We have three communities that surround the park that basically use that stadium on a regular basis. Whether they got used in an organized way, it was a space that the community used. We want to know whether they lose some of it, part of it or all of it.”

Lawyers for the plaintiffs argue that under Article 97 of the state constitution, which protects public land, any project for the stadium needs to go under a proper review under that article.

Representation for the defendants, on the other hand, stated that White Stadium is not being transferred to a private enterprise and that, under the proposed changes, BPS students and the public would have more access to the stadium facilities than they currently do. They also claim that, in this instance, an Article 97 process is not necessary.

But they also stressed that any significant delay to the project could derail it to the point of potentially killing it altogether. That’s an argument Edward Colbert, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, dismisses.

“That’s irrelevant to the city of Boston and its residents, who are the beneficiaries of this public land,” Colbert said. “That means that this private soccer team, if they lose their investment in this because they didn’t follow the law, that’s their fault.”

Karen Mauney-Brodek, president of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, issued at statement after the hearing that emphasizes the conservancy sees that renovations are needed to support BPS students and the surrounding community.

“But we oppose turning control of the stadium over to a professional sports team at the expense of BPS students and the local community, and allowing for-profit investors to privatize and profit from a public resource in violation of the state’s constitution,” Mauney-Brodek wrote.

Other community members spoke in favor of the project.

Caroline Foscato, who runs the Soccer Unity Project, is excited about the positives a professional women’s team could bring and believes there is a path towards building a consensus on the project.

"From the community meetings that I've been to regarding the project, I very much felt like there's a very open mind from everyone involved — from the city, onward — about: how do we really listen to the community to give them this amazing facility they so deserve?" Foscato said.

Hatim Jean-Louis, head coach of Boston Public Schools’ citywide cross-country team, was outspoken in his support of the project and said that this is something kids in BPS want. Under the proposal, White Stadium would receive significant upgraded facilities for BPS athletes, though high school football's schedule would conflict with a future NWSL team.

"The biggest school district in the state of Massachusetts should have a hub for the kids, period," he said. "And anyone against that, we're not talking the same thing. We're not."

Sarah Weyland Ellis, the judge presiding over the case, gave both sides until next week to file further arguments and responses and will take further action after that.