June 20, 2018

Pawtucket mayor says Red Sox will leave for Worcester if no RI deal is made

Photo | Grant Welker
The former Apex site in Pawtucket is being eyed for a new PawSox stadium.

The Rhode Island General Assembly will end its session at the end of this month, but an $83-million proposal to build a new ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox still has not been approved as the team continues its talks with Worcester.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien urged the House Finance Committee on Tuesday night to approve the bill, which calls for $45 million in private investment from the team, and $15 million and $23 million from the city and state, respectively.

The legislation taken up is a bit different from legislation passed by the Senate earlier this year. The proposal calls for a special tax-increment-financing district in the area around the ballpark to pay for the bonds for the project, shifting the burden away from the state.

Grebien said the city and state would be losing millions in revenues and hundreds of jobs if the team leaves the city, which has been in a bit of an economic rut of late.

Grebien referenced Worcester media reports saying the team has already been assured that Worcester and Massachusetts would put up more than enough public money to help support a Worcester project.

Grebien said the team has not given him details into what the the team has been offered in Worcester, but -- quoting from what he's read in media reports -- said the difference is tens of millions of dollars.

"They all know what is to be gained by bringing a new attraction to Massachusetts," he said. "We need to keep them here."

"Don't subsidize Worcester," he added.

Worcester officials have released essentially no details on the status of their talks with the team, and vice versa for the PawSox.

PawSox spokesman Joe Bradlee said Wednesday the team will not make a comment on the matter until the process concludes.

Read more

R.I. House FinCom passes PawSox bill

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