A Rhode Island senate committee has released revised legislation on a proposed Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) ballpark, proposing numerous changes in the process.
Though a vote will not take place until January, the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee released a revised proposal for a new ballpark on Thursday. The plan makes several key changes to the original legislation, including a call for the City of Pawtucket to receive half of the proceeds from the sale of ballpark naming rights. That is different from the previous plan that allowed for the team to exclusively receive that revenue.
Over the months leading up to Thursday’s announcement, officials at the state level have been debating the financial merits of the proposal. The PawSox were to initially pay $12 million upfront, with the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency borrowing million to cover the remaining costs of the $83-million ballpark project. That debt would be for through contributions by the team ($33 million), state ($23 million), and the City of Pawtucket ($15 million). However, the latest plan would increase the maximum amount that the agency could borrow to $85 million. More from The Providence Journal:
The revised legislation would split revenue from stadium-naming rights evenly between the Triple-A ballclub and the city — a shift from the initial legislation introduced last spring, which would have allowed the team to be the sole beneficiary of naming-rights revenue, Conley told The Providence Journal in an interview Thursday. Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio had told The Journal last month he wanted the naming rights to benefit the city.
The legislation also details that the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency would issue a total of $85 million in bonds to raise cash to build a new stadium on the Apex department store site near the city’s historic Slater Mill. That’s higher than the $71 million in bonds identified in the initial legislation and in line with what state General Treasurer Seth Magaziner testified before the Senate Finance Committee regarding how much would need to be issued in bonds.
That early amount to be bonded didn’t take into account the fact that when the bonds are issued, money must be set aside to pay lawyers and those drafting the bond documents, nor did it take into account money that would be set aside in reserve funds to pay interest and other early debt payments before new revenue might be generated by development around a new stadium.
As is envisioned, the Senate Finance Committee will vote on the plan in the first of week of January. Should it clear the committee, the legislation would then move to the full senate for consideration.
The PawSox have been seeking a new ballpark to replace the aging McCoy Stadium, where their lease is set to expire after the 2020 season, and have touted the proposed Pawtucket ballpark as a potential catalyst for development in the city’s downtown. In addition, Worcester, MA has shown an interest in landing team, with officials there considering the possibility of new ballpark to accommodate the PawSox.
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