In their search for a new ballpark, the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) have been pitched on Union Point as a possible destination.
The PawSox have spent considerable time searching for a replacement for McCoy Stadium. While a new ballpark in Pawtucket and a potential move to Worcester, MA have been among the higher profile options for the team, the club was also pitched by local officials on a move to Union Point–a smart growth development on the site of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station.
According to Weymouth, MA mayor Robert Hedlund the possibility of a new Union Point venue as part of a ballpark district was discussed in meetings last summer with PawSox officials and the developer of Union Point. However, there were certain challenges to the idea of luring the team to the development with a new ballpark. More from Wicked Local:
Hedlund said he met with officials from Union Point developer LStar Communities and the PawSox last summer to discuss the possibility of the team relocating to the former Navy base.
“LStar put their own package to locate the PawSox to Union Point,” he said. “We worked on a financing package. Their vision was to create a ballpark district and they would pay the bonds to build a new stadium. The town’s participation in the project would be the creation of the bonds, but we’d have to work with them to create the ballpark district. There would be no financial obligation from the town.”
LStar officials could not be reached for comment.
Hedlund said the challenges working against relocating the PawSox to Weymouth include a strong sentiment by team owners to maintain Rhode Island ties to the ballclub.
Though much of the focus has been on Pawtucket and Worcester as contenders, reports have linked other cities to the PawSox, including Attleboro, MA. Most recently, the team has been lobbying support for a financing plan to construct a new ballpark in downtown Pawtucket. While that financing proposal was approved by the Rhode Island Senate, it has encountered obstacles in the house, where House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has argued that the team needs to pony up more money to receive his support.
Under the plan that has been discussed in Rhode Island, the PawSox would move into a new ballpark that would be constructed at the site of Apex department store in downtown Pawtucket. The legislation calls for the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency to borrow a maximum of $85 million for the project, with the PawSox making a $41 million contribution, the state paying $26 million, and the city allocating $18 million. In addition, the team would pay $12 million after approval of the plan.
A new ballpark would replace McCoy Stadium, where the PawSox’s lease is set to expire after the 2020 season.
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