PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The ownership group that wants to move the Pawtucket Red Sox to Providence now says it’s considering buying some of the state-owned land that is part of the proposed location of a new stadium.
Eyewitness News has learned that a 1997 agreement between the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission designated about eight acres of land in three parcels for use as public parks. The plan that the PawSox ownership group has laid out, includes one of those parcels, a 4.7 acre plot on Dyer Street.
The group, which includes PawSox President Jim Skeffington and Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino, indicated previously that they hoped to lease that land for $1 per year from the state.
But in a letter delivered to Governor Raimondo on Saturday, Skeffington opened the door to the possibility of buying the land outright.
“Larry Lucchino and I, as the managing partners of the new ownership, wish to meet with you at your earliest convenience to consider various alternatives and explore ways to accomplish our mutual objective, including the possible purchase of the State land for the ballpark,” Skeffington wrote.
Stephen Neuman, Chief of Staff for Governor Raimondo, told Eyewitness News on Sunday that the Governor was pleased that Skeffington and Lucchino were interested in discussing options. The Governor didn’t feel that their original proposal was “particularly fair for taxpayers,” Neuman said.
A meeting between Raimondo and the team ownership hasn’t yet been scheduled, he said.
Skeffington, Lucchino and other members of the ownership team will be making their formal proposal on the use of the state-owned land to the 195 Commission Monday afternoon. An agenda filed last week indicated that the meeting would be held primarily in executive session, but the decision was made Friday afternoon to hold the meeting instead in open session. It will be held at 4 p.m. at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation offices on Iron Horse Way in Providence.
The team ownership said it would front the approximately $85 million needed for the project, but they wanted $4 million from the state per year for 30 years, totaling $120 million. By their estimates, the stadium would inject more than $12 million annually into the local economy.