Senate committee revises bill for proposed PawSox stadium
By John Krinjak
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A vote of confidence for the proposed PawSox stadium deal late Thursday from the Senate Finance Committee--as long as some big changes are made to the multi-million-dollar deal.
Seven public hearings on the new PawSox stadium proposal.
"The public was right. A lot of things needed to be fixed," said committee chair William Conley.
With that in mind, the committee released a revised bill Thursday.
The new version includes several provisions to protect Pawtucket financially, like directing revenue from naming rights and ticket surcharges to the city.
It also requires the team to develop 50,000 square feet of real estate along with the ballpark--and sign on for a minimum 30-year lease.
"From the beginning this has always been about economic development for the city of Pawtucket," said Mayor Donald Grebien.
The bill stipulates the PawSox are responsible for maintenance and half of all capital improvements to the ballpark.
It requires the use of energy efficient and green design in building the park, and scales back eminent domain for the project to only include blighted properties.
"No matter where we went in the state, didn't matter what part of the state, there was a real concern about the expansion of eminent domain powers. It was genuine and it was correct," said Conley.
Grebien is worried there could still be competition from the north.
"Now that Worcester is really on the table-the governor has gone from saying no to I'll steal them from Pawtucket and he's making incentives. We've shown all our cards, and that's good, that's the way a public process should work, but it gives them an advantage to come in and negotiate and undercut," said Grebien.
The PawSox released a brief statement Thursday night, saying: "We, like the rest of the public, have now received this information, and we will take the time necessary to consider it."
The committee decided to table the legislation so they can get more input from the public on the updated version.
Then they'll bring that new feedback back to the committee in early January, with the bill expected to hit the Senate floor sometime next month.