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Pawtucket, Worcester Continue PawSox Ballpark Push

Pawtucket Red Sox

The Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) are continuing their push for a new ballpark, with both Pawtucket and Worcester, MA looking to be on the table.  

A proposal in Pawtucket calls for the construction of a new ballpark at the site of an Apex department store, and the facility has been pitched as part of a larger development plan. The financial framework calls for the PawSox to pay $45 million ($12 million upfront, the rest paybacks on money borrowed by the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency), Rhode Island to pay $23 million (with Pawtucket committed to paying the money back), and the city to pay $15 million.

It remains to be seen if that proposal will gather the necessary political support to move forward, but a recent development shows what officials are planning. On Monday, it was announced that the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee will consider the proposal, and has planned hearings for the fall. More from the AP:

The first is scheduled for Sept. 14 at the Statehouse.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman William Conley, a Pawtucket, R.I. Democrat, said he’s committed to a transparent process to thoroughly scrutinize all aspects of the legislation during intensive public hearings.

Meanwhile, Worcester, MA has been reported as a possible landing spot for the club should it look to leave Pawtucket. The city council recently passed a resolution relating to that effort, and discussions among officials about the possibility of landing the team through a new ballpark proposal have continued.

PawSox chairman Larry Lucchino made two visits to the city’s Canal District in July, and the team is fielding ballpark pitches from cities. What remains to be seen, however, is what type of plan Worcester will pursue if it is to lure the team, and how the financials will take shape. MassLive recently reported on how those discussions are unfolding:

Sources close to the discussions happening in City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce told MassLive the city would likely try to seek a deal similar to the one the PawSox offered to Providence: An $83 million stadium with the state and city contributing $23 and $15 million respectively.

However, both sources reiterated that any discussion on deal making at this point is speculation.

Representatives of the PawSox also met with state officials in July to discuss a number of different communities in Massachusetts for potential options, Michelle Hillman of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development said. The office would not specify when the meeting took place, or if there have been multiple meetings.

Jay Ash, who serves as the secretary of economic development in Gov. Charlie Baker’s cabinet, confirmed with MassLive that he has spoken with Lucchino and other PawSox representatives to explore a potential deal. However, Ash is confident that Lucchino is exploring all alternatives.

The PawSox are looking for a longterm solution beyond their current home, McCoy Stadium. Their lease at that facility runs through the 2020 season.

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