A revised Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) ballpark plan could be in the offing, as a team consultant is reporting progress from ongoing discussions.
There has been some uncertainty surrounding the status of a PawSox ballpark proposed for the site of an Apex department store in downtown Pawtucket. In January, the Rhode Island Senate passed a funding bill for the proposal, but that plan ran into hurdles in the House of Representatives, as House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello argued that the team needed to pony up more money to receive his support.
A reworked ballpark plan has not surfaced to this point, but one appears to be in the works. A consultant for the PawSox indicates that discussions involving the team, House staff, and city leaders have resulted in progress, while Mattiello acknowledges that the House is still working with the team to come up with an agreement. More from Rhode Island Public Radio:
PawSox consultant Guy Dufault said the progress follows ongoing talks between the team, the city of Pawtucket, and staffers in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
“[Pawtucket] Mayor [Don] Grebien has said to me he felt they were making substantial progress,” Dufault said.
Speaking separately, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said the House is pursuing an agreement with the PawSox.
“We’re working currently with the PawSox and if we can negotiate a proposal where the risk is transferred away from the Rhode Island taxpayer, we will do something,” Mattiello said during a taping Thursday of Rhode Island Public Radio’s Political Roundtable. “And if the PawSox want to stay in Rhode Island, we’ll work on making that happen and we’ll make a deal that is favorable to the taxpayer where a lot of the risk is shifted.”
Discussions of a new PawSox ballpark have come as the team seeks a replacement for McCoy Stadium, which is currently the oldest active Class AAA facility in Minor League Baseball. Worcester, MA has been tied to the team and, while few concrete details on how a ballpark plan there could take shape have been presented publicly, recent reports have indicated that officials continue discussions about the effort.
In the funding plan passed by the Rhode Island Senate earlier this year, the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency would be permitted 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. The ongoing Rhode Island legislative session is expected to wrap up in mid-June.
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