Amidst uncertainty surrounding their proposed new Pawtucket ballpark, Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) officials continue discussions with Worcester, MA about a possible move.
Over the last several months, most of the focus on the ongoing PawSox ballpark search has been on Pawtucket. Rhode Island officials continue to debate a proposed new venue in the city’s downtown, but there are numerous questions surrounding the fate of that concept as the ongoing legislative session winds down.
Meanwhile, Worcester has been viewed as a possible alternative for the PawSox if they cannot secure a new ballpark in Pawtucket. PawSox chair Larry Lucchino reportedly visited Worcester on Friday to meet with officials, and the city has recently acknowledged that discussions with the team continue. Worcester’s Canal District has been widely reported as a possible site for a new ballpark, but city officials have not divulged much information about how a new facility could take shape. More from Worcester Magazine:
Appearing on The Worcester Magazine Radio Hour on Thursday, City Manager Ed Augustus Jr. continued to dispense little information on negotiations with the PawSox, but acknowledged ongoing discussions with the team.
“We continue to have our conversations and we look forward to a successful conclusion,” the city manager said.
Reached by phone Saturday and asked about meeting with Lucchino yesterday, Augustus said: “We continue to work hard to bring the PawSox to Worcester.”
Meanwhile, uncertainty continues to surround the team’s future in Rhode Island, where lawmakers could vote in the coming week on a modified version of a bill to fund a new stadium in Pawtucket. The Providence Journal reported on Thursday the House hopes to wrap up this year’s session next week.
When it comes to Pawtucket, the Rhode Island Senate approved a plan in January that allows the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency to borrow a maximum of $85 million for the project. The PawSox would make a $41 million contribution, with 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, Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello objected to that plan, and a modified version was released last month. The revised legislation is similar to what was passed by the Senate, but one key change removes the state from the role of backing bonds issued to fund the project, shifting that burden to a TIF district set up by the city. Discussions over that plan continue, and it is slated to be debated during a House Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday.
If that proposal, or a similar plan, does not move forward, Worcester could emerge as a possible landing spot for the PawSox. Worcester currently features a summer-collegiate team in the Worcester Bravehearts (Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball), who play at Fitton Field. However, discussions of a new ballpark would factor into any effort to land the PawSox. The PawSox currently play at McCoy Stadium, the oldest active Class AAA facility in Minor League Baseball.
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