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Tweaks Expected for PawSox Ballpark Proposal

Pawtucket ballpark site plan

This week could see changes to the most recent Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) ballpark proposal, as the team indicates that it expects some tweaks. 

The process of trying to pin down an agreement that will work for all parties involved — the governor, the General Assembly, the city and the PawSox—is still very much unfolding. Thus far, the PawSox have held off on making any public statements about the most recent proposal, which effectively takes the state out of the business of backing bonds issued to fund the project, shifting that burden to a TIF district set up by the city. All in all, the terms of a deal worked out by Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Pawtucket mayor Donald Grebien, among others, calls for the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency to borrow a maximum of $85 million for the project, with the PawSox making a $45 million contribution, the state paying $23 million, and the city allocating $15 million. In addition, the team would pay $12 million after approval of the plan.

As noted, the PawSox have not weighed in on this plan publicly. However, the team indicated late last week that discussions about the proposal are still taking taking place and that some tweaks could be made this week. More from The Providence Journal:

“We anticipate there will be amendments early next week, which we will review upon receipt,” Guy Dufault, working as a consultant for the ballclub, wrote in an email Friday.

Pawtucket officials working with the team to push a stadium deal across home plate have sent Mattiello’s office proposed changes, but House spokesman Larry Berman said no decision has been made on whether they will be accepted.

“The House has received amended language from the City of Pawtucket following the hearing. Discussions are on-going,” Berman wrote in an email.

Dylan Zelazo, Pawtucket deputy director of administration, wrote Friday that the city has “suggested some amendments to provide options to meet the Speaker’s request.”

There have been some questions about the most recent proposal, including the exact borrowing costs, and officials are working to address those and potentially have a Rhode Island House of Representatives vote before this season’s June 22 adjournment. The proposed PawSox ballpark is being pitched for the site of an Apex department store in downtown Pawtucket, where proponents have argued that it will serve as a catalyst for new development in the area. If built, it will serve as a replacement for McCoy Stadium–the oldest active Class AAA facility in Minor League Baseball.

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