It looks like things are back to square one for the owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) on their quest for a new downtown Providence ballpark, with an altered financial plan expected.
State legislators have rejected the idea of a new ballpark under the current proposal. While there once was a shot a fall special session could address the ballpark situation, legislative leaders now say they’re in no hurry to consider a proposal so obviously disliked by taxpayers.
The PawSox owners have asked for $5 million annually from the state, defrayed by $1 million annually in rent, as well as real-estate-tax exemptions. The PawSox owners will finance the $85-million construction cost and will either lease or buy the land. State and local officials spoke out against the funding plan as being a bad investment for the state, and since the original pitch all sides have met behind closed doors. PawSox ownership had sought to make a waterfront ballpark part of this year’s legislative session, which ended June 20.
So the PawSox are resetting their ballpark efforts, beginning the process of wooing voters from scratch. From the Providence Journal:
Pawtucket Red Sox representatives walked riverfront property in Providence Monday to share the team’s vision for how a Triple A baseball stadium on the land could change the character of the city and draw people downtown for games, restaurants and more….
Dr. Charles Steinberg, 56, led about 24 people on the tour. A Baltimore native, he’s a senior adviser to PawSox managing partner Larry Lucchino, who is also president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox…
Steinberg had plenty to say about how great a Providence stadium would be, but said he couldn’t speak for the PawSox owners when asked if they’re content to wait now that Rhode Island political leaders have said they’re not ready to negotiate. He said he’s not a team negotiator, but he said he will likely be part of the group this summer as the PawSox launch a tour of all 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island to drum up support for the stadium.
If one side isn’t ready to negotiate, then there are effectively no negotiations. So it will be up to the PawSox to break the impasse with a new proposal — a PR effort probably won’t be enough.
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