Worcester, MA celebrated a milestone Thursday by breaking ground on Polar Park, the upcoming home of the relocating Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League).
Polar Park is slated to open in time for the 2021 season, serving both as a new home for the current PawSox and–under the vision of city and project officials–the anchor of a larger redevelopment initiative in the city’s Kelley Square/Canal District area. Plans call for the facility to offer a total capacity of 10,000, including roughly 7,000 traditional seats along with a mix of gathering spaces and non-traditional seating areas. In addition, it is expected that Polar Park will host 125 year-round events, with MiLB games, concerts, community events, high school and college sports, and more to be part of the mix.
Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony was a major step toward completing Polar Park by the 2021 season, and gave project and city officials the opportunity to tout the impact they expect the facility to have on Worcester. More from the Telegram & Gazette:
“The opportunity to build Polar Park in this location really bridges two amazing transformations that have already started in Worcester: the Canal District and its organic growth and its wonderful playful nature that it represents, and the very deliberate effort that has been made to bring downtown up to the level,” said Janet Marie Smith, ballpark design adviser. “We were really excited about taking this 18 acres of former industrial land and in one fell swoop changing it into something that would knit these two districts together.”
City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr., whom speakers repeatedly praised for his efforts to woo the PawSox to Worcester, called the groundbreaking “one of those milestones in Worcester’s history” akin to the building of City Hall and opening of Union Station.
“Today is a special moment in Worcester’s history — a line of demarcation separating Worcester before Polar Park and Worcester after Polar Park,” Mr. Augustus said. “Today we write the first words of a new chapter in Worcester’s history. … This is the story of a new Worcester. Gone are the doubts, replaced by confidence.”
Larry Lucchino, principal owner and chairman of the Pawtucket Red Sox, shared that confidence.
Naming rights for Polar Park will come from Worcester’s Polar Beverages, whose president and CEO, Ralph Crowley Jr., will become a part owner of the team. The PawSox will remain at Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium for this season and 2020 while awaiting completion of the new ballpark.
Rendering courtesy City of Worcester.
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