Powerful Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says a revised financing plan for a new Providence ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) is a much better deal for taxpayers than the original proposal.
PawSox managing partner Larry Lucchino announced that a new deal was in the works after initial reaction to a ballpark funding plan met with opposition from state and local political officials. Since then the team ownership embarked on a tour across the state to stress the need for a new ballpark while preparing a new ballpark plan for review. Initially, the reception to the new plan — which is still under wraps — seems to be positive. From the Providence Journal:
“The proposal is significantly improved for the taxpayers,” Mattiello told The Providence Journal through his spokesman Larry Berman on Thursday. “We anticipate it will be revenue-neutral and taxpayers will have a positive financial benefit in the long term. I believe what is being negotiated is a good deal and it is in the best interests of the state.”
Mattiello received a summary of the terms earlier this week, he said. He characterized what he’s reviewing as “a product of the parties involved in the negotiations, not just from the team.”…
“We are very close” to reaching a renegotiated proposal, Mattiello said through Berman, yet he’s still reviewing terms and discussing it with the parties involved.
Mattiello’s optimism was offset by statements coming from the office of Gov. Gina Raimondo, who said the financial terms were just one part of a larger deal and that many more facets of new-ballpark planning need to be worked out before the first shovel of dirt is turned:
“Most of the attention has been focused on the financial terms about a possible new ballpark,” [spokesperson Joy] Fox said in an e-mailed statement. “That’s because the initial proposal from the team owners was not fair to Rhode Island taxpayers. Discussions are still in process on those financial terms, but there are a lot of other things that would have to happen — including various approvals by regulatory agencies and other stakeholders — before a ballpark agreement could be reached and advanced.”
The PawSox have proposed a new downtown ballpark and a move from McCoy Stadium.
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