PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The Pawtucket Red Sox owners’ formal proposal to use state-owned land, which is currently designated for a riverfront park, will be made on Monday, Target 12 has learned, and Red Sox President Larry Lucchino is among the minor league team’s executives who will be in Providence for the pitch.
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The 1997 memorandum of understanding between the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission set aside about 8 acres of land in three parcels for public parks. The PawSox have their eyes on parcel 4, a 4.7-acre plot on the riverfront on Dyer Street.
Commission spokesperson Dyana Koelsch said there has not been any decision on “the set aside of public space or park land.”
“We have legal counsel dealing with the RIDOT lawyers who are the liaison to the Federal Highway Administration,” Koelsch said. “We have received no formal proposal [from the PawSox].”
Team spokesperson Patti Doyle said the proposal will include open space outside the ballpark.
“We are not concerned about the park issue,” she said. “But instead looking forward to a great conversation with the District Commission about our proposal, which features at minimum three acres of open public park space.”
But sources close to the history of the 195 redevelopment effort have told Target 12 that if parcel 4 is used for the ballpark, open space would have to be carved out somewhere else in the district. That could mean five of the 18.81 acres, almost a third of the developable land, would be taken up by the PawSox, unless the open space agreement is changed. The other possibility is RIDOT could consider the three acres of “open public park space” within the PawSox ballpark as part of district’s overall open area.
The park or ballpark discussion with RIDOT will not involve the commission’s regular legal counsel, Locke Lorde. PawSox President Jim Skeffington is an attorney at that firm, and his colleague Chip Rogers is the commission’s legal counsel.
“This issue was raised,” Doyle said. “And Locke Lorde has already determined that it will not represent the District or Jim Skeffington on the PawSox matter. So there is no conflict at all.”
Earlier this month, the PawSox released some of the financials from their proposal that included leasing the 195 land for a dollar a year . The ownership group would front the money for the $85 million dollar project, but they’re asking for the state’s taxpayers to lease the property back from them for what adds up to $4 million a year over a 30-year period. In exchange, the PawSox projected games and other events at the riverfront venue would pump $12.3 million dollars into the economy.Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter@wbuteau