Pawtucket mayor: McCoy Stadium study should be made public

(Photo: WPRI)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — As the debate over whether the Pawtucket Red Sox should build a new stadium in Providence continues, Pawtucket’s mayor wants the public to see the results of a study being used by the team’s owners to justify the move.

In May, the team’s new ownership claimed it would cost about $65 million to bring historic McCoy Stadium up to their standards.

That figure came as the result of a feasibility study commissioned from Populous, a prominent sports architecture firm. Populous said $65.8 million is the amount necessary to bring the nearly 75-year-old ballpark “to a level that is comparable to current AAA Ballparks.”

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien sent a letter the following week to PawSox owner Larry Lucchino, asking to see the study.

On Wednesday, he said he’s yet to see those findings.

“I think they’re kind of concerned about letting that go, because personally I think that’s a high number,” the mayor said.

Grebien said the team has offered to give him the study, but only if he promised not to share it with the public.

After finalizing the purchase of the PawSox, the new ownership group announced plans to move the team to Providence by building an $85 million ballpark on the former I-195 land. Their initial proposal, which called for $120 million in taxpayer subsidies and a 30-year tax exemption from the city, was met with significant backlash.

The controversy was once again brought up for debate Tuesday at a public forum moderated by WPRI.com reporter Ted Nesi. During the event PawSox spokesperson Patti Doyle said the team will eventually release the study publicly, but she said it first needs to be given to the mayor.

“They’ve talked about an exchange of documents and ideas that will happen first, then we will make the documents public,” Doyle said Wednesday.

Doyle acknowledged that the initial proposal was too costly for taxpayers, but urged the crowd to wait until a new revised deal is released, saying it will be “revenue neutral.”

“I really hope that this is a viewed as a unique public-private partnership,” she said.

Grebien said he wants to see the feasibility study first, so he knows what needs to be fixed and how Populous came up with that figure. “If they’re going to be gone, what are our options going forward?” he asked.

The team wants to be out of McCoy Stadium by 2018, but Grebien is hopeful the PawSox will play there at least until the team’s current lease runs out in 2021.

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