Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello recently met with Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) officials concerning the team’s pitch for a new ballpark.
Back in January, the Rhode Island Senate passed a funding plan for a new PawSox ballpark that would be constructed at the site of an Apex department store. That proposal allows 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.
However, there have been doubts as to whether that proposal will move forward, as Mattiello has pushed to revise the bill to require more money from the team. The House Speaker recently confirmed that he met with PawSox officials last week to go over the plan, and indicates that he is waiting for the team to come forward with a revised proposal. More from The Providence Journal:
But Mattiello told The Journal during an interview at the State House on Thursday that he is now waiting for the team to get back to him on what, if any, commitments — or concessions — they are willing to make to lessen the potential risk to city and state taxpayers for their share of the $97 million cost of building the proposed new stadium on the Apex department store site.
“We talked about … what I thought the public’s concerns were and the direction the framework would have to go in order for us to consider it,″ Mattiello said.
Mattiello said he told the team executives — and the city officials — seated at the table essentially the same thing he has said publicly. He wants to see more “risk shifting from the taxpayers onto the PawSox.”
“I think we are all on the same page in terms of [an] understanding as to what would be necessary, so I am now waiting for them to make proposals along those lines,″ he said.
Proponents of the plan have argued that it would serve as an economic catalyst by bringing development to downtown Pawtucket, but Mattiello has indicated that the funding model will need to be revised in order for the proposal to move forward. The PawSox are seeking a new ballpark to replace McCoy Stadium, where their lease is set to expire after the 2020 season.
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