Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo says the potential state aid for a new Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) ballpark could go as high as $35 million — the same amount it would cost to structurally modernize McCoy Stadium.
That McCoy Stadium needs a lot of work is now a given after two consultants said a baseline of $35.6 million would be needed to fix structural deficiencies or $68 million to fully modernize the ballpark. Raimondo’s comments are meant to put a cap on the amount she was willing to request, either on McCoy Stadium upgrades or a new downtown ballpark.
But there’s one problem with the notion of spending $35 million on fixing McCoy Stadium: there is little chance for economic development resulting from the upgrades. A proposed downtown ballpark on the Apex Department Store site, meanwhile, has the potential spin off additional development, both from the PawSox owners and other investors. From the Providence Journal:
Raimondo said she’s still waiting to learn details of what the PawSox might seek in state support. Her Commerce Secretary, Stefan Pryor, has been working with the team and city in negotiations, she said, “helping them and guiding them.”
Pryor couldn’t be reached Friday. His spokesman, Matt Sheaff, said he was traveling back to Rhode Island from visiting with out-of-state companies.
Raimondo said she thinks the team expects to “finalize their proposal next week,” meet with her and then meet with General Assembly leaders.
PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino, reached Friday afternoon, said only “interesting” when told of the Governor’s $35-million limit. He declined immediate comment.
It would be highly unlikely a new downtown Pawtucket Triple-A ballpark could be built for $35 million; that’s the price these days for a new Single-A ballpark, and a price tag of $75 million has been floated by PawSox owners and consultants. So the PawSox potentially have the baseline for a new-ballpark funding plan, but clearly more pieces of the puzzle need to be filled.
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