With a key vote coming Thursday, the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) are interested in proposed ballpark legislation passing, according to Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello.
There has been uncertainty surrounding a proposed ballpark bill from Mattiello, who last month released a revised version of the legislation. It is similar to a bill passed by the Rhode Island Senate in January, but it 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 of Pawtucket. The House Finance Committee is set to vote on that proposal Thursday afternoon, with a full house vote possibly taking place Thursday night if the committee approves the bill.
The PawSox have not offered public comment on Mattiello’s revisions, but the House Speaker indicated on Wednesday that the team is interested in seeing the bill pass. According to Mattiello, the PawSox would have a discussion with the city after the bill was approved. More from The Providence Journal:
“I was informed by someone from the PawSox organization that they are interested in the legislation passing and will have a discussion with the city post passage,” Mattiello told the Journal Wednesday night after a lengthy House session.
Earlier Wednesday evening the House scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday the House Finance Committee vote on the ballpark legislation.
Assuming the Finance Committee passes Mattiello’s ballpark bill — expected to include minor revisions proposed by Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien Tuesday — Mattiello said he expects to bring the legislation up for a full House vote Thursday night….
The PawSox declined comment Wednesday.
In the Senate bill that was passed earlier this year, the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency would be allowed 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.
The PawSox have spent considerable time seeking a replacement for McCoy Stadium, which is currently the oldest active Class AAA facility in Minor League Baseball. The proposal under debate in Rhode Island calls for the construction of a new ballpark at the site of an Apex department store in downtown Pawtucket, where proponents have argued that it would serve as a catalyst for development in the surrounding area.
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