Things have quieted down since the news first broke that the Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, would be moving locations after the next two seasons, but they have been moving forward. Two weeks ago the new owners of the Pawsox unveiled their plans to the State of Rhode Island for the new stadium, which they propose be built in Providence.
The park would be a waterfront stadium, built on a plot of land that is currently unused but owned by the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and Brown University. One of the major obstacles in getting the plans approved would be persuading state leaders to scratch their current plans for the land, which include a new public park, and allow the new, multi-use stadium to go their instead.
That is far from the only obstacle, however. According to turnto10.com, the ownership group claimed that the ballpark would generate $12.3 million annually in spending for the city and the state, but there is a major caveat: the group is also seeking aid from tax payers in the form of $120 million over 30 years, and to be exempt from real estate taxes.
The proposal goes like this: taxpayers would contribute $4 million a year for 30 years to rent the stadium and, and the ownership group, which includes Larry Lucchino, would ask for a 30-year exemption from city real estate taxes, saying the majority of ballparks are exempt from taxes.
The part about most ballparks being tax exempt is true, and many ballparks do receive funding from the public, but that is usually made on the grounds that a new stadium would bring a significant economic boost to the community. Rarely though, turnto10.com points out, does this boost ever end up being as significant as projected.
Granted, the ownership group would be putting up 85 million of their own dollars to build the stadium, but the general consensus is that this is simply not enough. Taxpayers in Rhode Island would still be putting up significantly more than the owners.
It became clear that the team would be moving as soon as it was bought; there is simply more money to be made elsewhere for the ownership group. Providence became the sexy proposal for the new ballpark following the news; after all, the team would stay in Rhode Island and help the state and local community economically. However, now Rhode Islanders are left with a proposal that would cause them to take on most of the risk associated of a massive new project and a project that seems frighteningly similar to Rhode Island’s supporting of Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios venture nonetheless. I’m from Rhode Island so call it trust issues if you want, but this is a business venture and the ownership group is going to try and keep risk down as much as possible on their end to bring in as much profit as possible, regardless of what it costs taxpayers.
Thus, things may be moving forward with the plans for the new stadium but they are far from complete. If both parties are unwilling to negotiate and meet each other somewhere in between where they each currently stand, there could very likely be no new stadium in Providence after all. No matter what happens, though,
Monstah Mash will keep you posted along the way.