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August 27, 2018

Local labor group calls for community input on WooSox project

Photo/Grant Welker Graphics/Mitchell Hayes An aerial view of the Canal District in Worcester, where a planned stadium would be built. Kelley Square is located to the left of the photo, between the ballpark site and I-290.

As Worcester looks to quickly approve a $200-million project to redevelop the Canal District and build the future home of the Pawtucket Red Sox, one community and labor group hopes to make sure the project benefits the entire Worcester community.

The Worcester Community Labor Coalition (WCLC), in a letter to the team’s ownership, said it supports the project, but said the project should support both the team and the community. 

The ballpark could cost up to $90 million alone. The city is seeking to borrow $101 million for the entire ballpark project, while a private developer is seeking to build two hotels, apartments and other retail space on the vacant Wyman-Gordon site adjacent to the proposed ballpark location. 

According to WCLC, over 40 local unions and organizations have signed the letter, which calls on the team to include the community and local organizations as the team and city begin to ramp up planning to have a ballpark built in time for opening day in April 2021.

“Significant public tax dollars have already been spent in pursuit of this ballpark, and tens of millions more are being redirected for land takings, construction, roadwork, infrastructure improvements and marketing,” WCLC wrote. “Publicly financed sports facilities are not economically beneficial to a community unless there are linkages and commitments to responsible contracting, environmental protection, local jobs, hiring equity and livable wages that support the community.” 

The group is planning a standout in front of Crompton Collective on Tuesday, the site of the City Council’s Standing Committee of Economic Development meeting.

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