Despite state lawmakers’ decision to pass on considering the proposal during the current legislative session, Pawtucket mayor Donald Grebien made his case for a new Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) ballpark.
As noted here on Wednesday morning, lawmakers said that the Rhode Island General Assembly will not consider a bill concerning a proposed PawSox ballpark during the ongoing legislative session. The proposal relies on state legislators granting the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency permission to raise the $72 million needed for the construction of the ballpark. The team would contribute $45 million toward the facility’s cost, with the state chipping in $23 million and the city paying $15 million.
Lawmakers believed that the proposal was surfacing too late in the legislative session to receive consideration, and cited the need to focus on other issues before the session adjourns next month. That did not stop Grebien from making his case, however. On Wednesday afternoon, he delivered a draft of the legislation to the Rhode Island State House and held a press conference, during which he stated that he hopes lawmakers will reconsider their stance. More from The Providence Journal:
Asked what he hoped his news conference on the marble terrace outside the State House a day later would change, Grebien said: “I am the eternal optimist.”
“I hope that they reflect and they realize that there are other communities, not just the capital city … This is truly important for the Blackstone Valley. It’s more than the political obstacles, if you will or the gamesmanship that’s happening up there. This is about community. This is about revitalization.”
While he repeatedly raised the specter that the Pawsox would leave Pawtucket — and the state of Rhode Island — Grebien said the team owners have not told him that specifically, but their commitment to “monogamy″ as he put it, only runs through July 1.
Grebien arrived at the press conference with a copy of the seven-page bill he wants the lawmakers to consider in the weeks leading up to their anticipated adjournment next month even — he suggested — if they have to stay in session an extra week.
The proposal would lead to a new ballpark being constructed at the site of an Apex department store, with the PawSox signing a 30-year lease to play at the facility. The city would cover property acquisition, an expense that could raise the project’s cost to about $83 million not including principal and interest.
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