On the heels of its release, the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) are offering some reservations over revised legislation on new ballpark financing.
After spending considerable time debating the original proposal, the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee released a revised bill on the new ballpark last week. That plan called for several changes to the original proposal, including a split of naming rights proceeds between the City of Pawtucket and the PawSox, and language that allows the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency to borrow a maximum of $85 million for the project. While the bill was released in December, officials are not expected to vote on it until early January.
Earlier this week, the PawSox responded to the bill with some reservation. More from The Providence Journal:
“It will take some time to digest the proposed revisions they have introduced,” the team’s statement said. “It is our hope that all partners and stakeholders understand the delicate balance achieved in the original agreement that followed months of negotiation in 2017 among the City of Pawtucket, the State of Rhode Island, and the Pawtucket Red Sox.”
Furthermore, the team said a consequence of the state legislature’s process this year — and of those negotiations — is that a new ballpark can no longer be ready by April 2020, which the team said has been a “stated, important and collective objective.” For months now, the team has spoken of opening a new ballpark at the Apex department store location for the 2020 season.
“We have lost that year, but we have not lost our hope that the House and Senate will exhibit the necessary leadership to allow the construction of a beautiful ballpark and a public ‘park at the park’ to revitalize our riverfront and serve as a catalyst of a resurgent downtown Pawtucket for the Gateway City of the Ocean State,” the team’s statement said.
In the original proposal, which was released earlier this year, the PawSox would collect the full proceeds of the sale of naming rights. The funding model included $12 million upfront from the team, with the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency borrowing $71 million that would be paid back by the PawSox ($33 million), state ($23 million), and the City of Pawtucket ($15 million).
The PawSox have pitched a new Pawtucket ballpark at the site of an Apex department store, where project proponents have said it could be a catalyst for development in the city’s downtown. The new ballpark would replace McCoy Stadium, where the team’s lease expires after the 2020 season. Worcester, MA has also been connected to the team in its ballpark search.
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