PROVIDENCE, .R.I. (WLNE) — The first of six hearings on the $83 million proposed PawSox stadium for the old Apex site drew quite the crowd to the state house.
Ahead of the meeting, hundreds came out for a rally in support of the plan.
The hearing itself before the Senate Finance Committee lasted hours with several top officials including PawSox Owner Larry Lucchino and Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien giving lengthy presentation.
“To have this economic development opportunity is a game changer and transformative for the entire community,” said Jeremy Duffy the Co-Founder of Isle Brewers Guild in Pawtucket.
“It’s just an unbelievably audacious deal. It's shocking the difference between what they said and what's actually in the legislation. It's pretty unbelievable,” said Samuel Bell with the group Stop the Stadium Deal.
The proposal on the table would have the team pay $45 million, the state $23 million and the city of Pawtucket $15 million.
“We’re putting taxpayer money at risk,” said Pat Ford the Chairman of the Rhode Island Libertarian Party.
“We know that the ballpark right at the Apex location will be as everyone says a home run,” said Pawtucket resident Phyllis Nathanson.
The less than speedy process in figuring out the Pawsox fate has left other communities, including Worcester vying for the team.
However, the team’s president told ABC6 News Thursday night that he is pushing for the PawSox to stay in Rhode Island.
“My hope and desire is that we can keep the team in Pawtucket, keep it in Rhode Island. That's why we're very respectful of the process that the state has in place,” said PawSox President Charles Steinberg.
All five of the remaining scheduled hearings will take place outside of the state house.
The next one is scheduled for September 26 at Tolman High School.