Pawtucket, Central Falls mayors call on GA to brainstorm how to keep Hasbro

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – The Mayors of Pawtucket and Central Falls are turning to the state for help as Hasbro considers whether to move its headquarters.

Mayor Don Grebien (D-Pawtucket) and Mayor James Diossa (D-Central Falls) are putting the General Assembly on alert, in case state funding or incentives are needed down the road to seal the deal.

“If nothing else I learned from the Pawsox is we need to be together, not in our silos,” said Grebien in a press conference Wednesday afternoon, surrounded by state legislators who represent Pawtucket and Central Falls.

Grebien says losing Hasbro would be an even bigger hit than losing the Pawsox. He estimates roughly half of the 1,000-plus employees who work there live in the area.

Grebien called Hasbro a priority, adding revitalizing Pawtucket should be a priority for the state too.

“It’s about keeping [Hasbro] here and bringing additional businesses into the community,” said Grebien.

Legislators added that Pawtucket can’t take anymore hits. Sen. Elizabeth Crowley (D-Central Falls, Pawtucket) argued that losing the Pawsox and Memorial Hospital is affecting the city’s bottom line and even causing some businesses to move out.

“We’re going to work our darndest to make sure we don’t lose Hasbro,” Crowley passionately told reporters. “We will do whatever it takes to make sure that the incentives are there.”

In a statement, a Hasbro spokesperson said the company is “evaluating several options for contemporizing our corporate headquarters,” including finding a new corporate campus nearby. “We are committed to delivering a fully-updated, connected and flexible workspace for all of our employees, and want to find the right solution that will ultimately create the best corporate headquarters for Hasbro into the future.”

Grebien says he will continue discussions with Hasbro, but he wants to make sure the General Assembly is ready to help down the road if it comes down to it.

“We’ve shown them properties, we’ve given them incentives, so that’s what we’re trying to make sure,” said Grebien. “We want to keep them here.”

A spokesperson for Governor Gina Raimondo (D) released a statement, saying she is committed to working with Hasbro to make sure the company’s headquarters remains in Rhode Island, adding: “The Governor looks forward to continuing to partner with Mayor Grebien to revitalize his city.”

© WLNE-TV 2018