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May 16, 2023 Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Andrew Zimbalist responds to Polar Park article

Andrew Zimbalist, the economics professor at Smith College in Northampton who served as a consultant for the City of Worcester in the Polar Park baseball stadium, wrote this letter in response to a WBJ article about an academic study from economists Robert Baumann of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and John Charles Bradbury of Kennesaw State University in Georgia. The study was critical of the economic model used to justify the financials behind Polar Park and the Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County, Georgia.

To the editor:

I read the article in WBJ on Polar Park from May 11. I haven't read the Bradbury/Bauman report. Bradbury and I have already had a robust, written public debate about the Cobb County project. We disagree. I did not write a report for the Worcester project. I developed a model that attempted to estimate the net financial impact over time, and I participated actively in the negotiations with the WooSox.

I always emphasized that the results my model showed were contingent on auxiliary mixed-use development investments being made in a timely fashion and cost overruns on remediation remaining in a certain range. I was not contracted for $80,000. I was contracted on an hourly basis for which I charged one-fourth of my normal consulting fee. Because we bargained hard and long, the number of hours grew, though I regularly absented myself from meetings to contain costs that I thought were not crucial. (I turn down many more consulting projects than I accept. The final payment I received included reimbursement for travel costs -- auto at federal mileage rates and an occasional hotel.)

I am very confident that I contributed to far better terms for financing the stadium than would have existed had I not participated.


Andy Zimbalist

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Robert Anderson
July 10, 2023

"I am very confident that I contributed to far better terms for financing the stadium than would have existed had I not participated."

Who decided to hire this person to represent the taxpayers of Worcester??? Larry Lucchino.

May 17, 2023

I'm glad he's glad. For the rest of us, were screwed.

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