August 9, 2017

Nearly 100 Worcester businesses join PawSox push

Grant Welker
The vacant Wyman-Gordon site has been mentioned as a possible ballpark location.

The effort by Worcester officials to convince the Red Sox' Triple-A affiliate to move from Rhode Island to Worcester was joined by 98 key Central Massachusetts business leaders.

In a letter to to the Red Sox organization and Pawtucket Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino -- signed by 98 business people and nine elected officials from Worcester, Sturbridge, Milford, Auburn and other Central Massachusetts communities -- City Manager Edward Augustus urged the organization to move to Worcester, which he said is in the midst of a renaissance.

"The state of our city is strong; we enjoy a local economy that is thriving and continuing to grow, a rapidly developing downtown, a white-hot restaurant scene, and a burgeoning reputation as a hub for the arts," Augustus wrote.

The 98 business people signing the letter include:

  • Timothy Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Laurie Leshin, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Eric Dickson, president & CEO, UMass Memorial Health Care
  • Michael Angelini, chairman of law firm Bowditch & Dewey
  • Mike Covino, president of Niche Hospitality Group
  • Joe Cox, executive director of the EcoTarium
  • Troy Siebels, executive director of the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts
  • Linda Cavaioli, executive director of the YWCA of Central Massachusetts
  • Joe Bush, executive director of the Worcester Clean Tech Incubator
  • Anthony Consigli, CEO of Consigli Construction in Milford
  • Sandy Dunn, general manager of the DCU Center
  • Sue Mailman, president of Coghlin Electrical Contractors
  • Chip Norton, managing director of the Mercantile Center
  • Joseph Salois, president of Atlas Distributing in Auburn
  • Avra Hoffman, owner of the BirchTree Bread Co.
  • Alec Lopez, owner of Armsby Abbey
  • Ed Russo, co-chair of the Canal District Business Network
  • Kate McEvoy-Zdonczyk, vice president of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

With no signs of the city's economic renaissance slowing, Augustus pitched the move as the opportunity for the Red Sox to become part of the city's recent success story.

"Twenty years ago, a pitch for a sports team could have been seen as an effort to save the city," he wrote. "Today, we see it as an effort to push a success story to its next chapter.

In total, the letter was signed by Augustus and nine other elected officials, 10 higher education leaders, 11 leaders of cultural institutions, 13 nonprofit leaders, 15 hospitality executives, six healthcare executives and 41 business leaders.

City officials met with PawSox executives last month in the Canal District and the vacant Wyman-Gordon site off Madison Street between downtown and I-290 is eyed as a possible site for a stadium. The Red Sox' top minor league affiliate is searching for a new location to build a stadium after talks on a new stadium in Rhode Island fell through.

Augustus's letter comes after Mayor Joseph Petty filed a resolution calling for the Augustus to do all that he can to attract the team to the city.

"There is real momentum in our city, and it's great that an organization like the PawSox have noticed," Petty said in a prepared statement. "We would be negligent if we didn't pursue this opportunity."

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