As they prepare for their upcoming move, the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) are looking to design a ballpark that fits their new surroundings in Worcester, MA.
In August, it was announced that the PawSox will relocate from Pawtucket, RI to Worcester, where a new ballpark is slated to be constructed in time for the 2021 season. The new ballpark–dubbed Polar Park–is expected to anchor a larger redevelopment initiative in the city’s Kelley Square/Canal District area, with a hotel, apartments, and retail and restaurant space among the amenities that are anticipated to be developed in the area.
With plans for the ballpark’s design taking shape, PawSox officials–including chairman Larry Lucchino and team president Charles Steinberg–are emphasizing the importance of creating a facility that fits into its surroundings. That not only means designing a ballpark that looks tailor made for Worcester, but also one that can provide multiple uses to the community on a year-round basis. More from MassLive:
Lucchino has repeatedly said that he wants the park to “look and feel and taste and smell” like Worcester.
“We’d like it to be small and intimate and we’d like it to be multi-dimensional, so it has uses year-round and plenty of public park opportunity and greenery,” Lucchino said. “We want (a ballpark) that’s innovative in a variety of different ways, food service, seating, types of technology. So we have high aspirations for this facility. They won’t be just a generic, another minor league ballpark that looks like every other one.”
Coming to Worcester without a specific plan for the ballpark was intentional.
“This will not be a ballpark that lands from Mars and gets plunked into the Canal District,” Steinberg said. “This is going to be a ballpark that is the result of listening to everybody who wants to put forth their view.”
The ballpark will cost $86-$90 million, and is envisioned as the anchor of an 18-acre, $240 million redevelopment initiative. The funding formula for the ballpark calls for the City of Worcester to borrow $100.8 million ($70.6 million in general obligations bonds, $30.2 in bonds backed by team rent payments) to cover construction costs and PawSox owners paying $6 million toward construction. Rent payments are pegged at a little over a million dollars annually, for a total of $30.2 million over 30 years. Construction is slated to begin next summer and lead to a 2021 opening, while the PawSox will spend the 2019 and 2020 seasons at Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium.
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