With an end goal finally in sight for a Senate vote on the proposed $83 million dollar Pawsox stadium, Finance Chair William Conley says the plan for a Slater Mill ballpark has his full support.
"I am more confident than ever. If anything what the process showed us is that this is the right place in the state of Rhode Island,” said Conely.
Conley headed up a series of hearings across the state to fully vet the proposal.
The committee has been waiting on a report from the Auditor General before making their final recommendation. That report, along with one from the Commerce Corporation are now in.
"The really interesting aspect of both those reports is that they are very consistent with the financial information that the Senate Finance Committee reviewed during the process,” said Conley.
In the newly released letters, both the Auditor General and the Head of Investments at the state's Commerce Corporation call the team’s financial state stable.
Also of note, both reports site a need for additional revenue either coming from increased attendance at games and or a potential sale of naming rights.
"What we found is that throughout AAA, AA ballparks that construction of a new stadium enhances attendance. We think that this would be particularly true in Pawtucket,” said Conley.
The Senate Finance Committee plans to release their final report and revised legislation on Thursday.
"I think that the changes that we are all going to see are the changes you would expect based on the testimony that we received during the hearing,” said
The Senate Finance committee hopes to vote on that revised legislation sometime in the new year, after that it will go before the full Senate.
On the House side, Speaker Nick Mattiello released this statement, “I expect the Senate Finance Committee will give these documents a full examination and review. When our legislative session resumes in January, the House Finance Committee will do the same.”a statement from President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio on the PawSox ballpark legislation:
A statement from Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio was also released, reading in part:
"While I await the recommendation of the Finance Committee, I believe that this is a partnership which is mutually beneficial for the team, the city and the state. The proposal continues the public-private partnership that exists today at McCoy. It includes a $45 million private investment, a Triple-A record. Even under conservative estimates, the state investment is completely recouped through revenue generated directly by the team."
"This is an opportunity to keep a beloved franchise in our state and to jump-start economic development in downtown Pawtucket, at very low risk and no cost to the taxpayers. I will seek to vote on the revised legislation early when the legislative session convenes next month."