Worcester attempts to woo PawSox out of Pawtucket

WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI) – At least one Massachusetts city is taking advantage of Rhode Island’s inability to make a deal with the Pawtucket Red Sox to stay in the ocean state.

The central Massachusetts city of Worcester has been in talks with the PawSox over the last few weeks about the possibility of the team making their new home there.

As we’ve previously reported, the team is looking to move out of aging McCoy Stadium, and build a new stadium in Pawtucket, or elsewhere.

In July, baseball fans in Worcester sent the team ten-thousand postcards in a first attempt to show interest. Negotiations between the city and the team took off from there.

On the agenda at Tuesday’s Worcester City Council Meeting, councilors are expected to discuss a resolution which will allow the city’s manager to begin negotiations with the team. The site of a vacant factory building in the Canal District has been discussed as a potential site for a new ballpark.

“Obviously economically it would be good for the city of Worcester, but more importantly I think from a negotiating standpoint the PawSox have an awful lot to gain from coming to Worcester,” said Worcester City Councilman George Russell.

With the pitch to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island stalled for the summer, team officials have been meeting with leaders of bordering communities, including Worcester.

Similar to the negotiations in Rhode Island, what remains in question for Worcester’s proposal is how this new proposed stadium will be funded.

“As far as whether we’re ready to make that financial commitment, for that matter if the state of Massachusetts is willing to contribute on those lines too, that’s a whole other story,” said Russell.

However, Russell says the majority of the Worcester council is in favor of starting negotiations with the team. Worcester City Councilman Khrystian King backed this up, releasing a statement to Eyewitness News saying:

This could be a great opportunity for the city, but the devil is always in the details. The funding sourcing will have to be such that it enhances our city.”

 

In September, the Rhode Island Senate is expected to revisit the PawSox pitch, and hold hearings on a bill to build a new $83 million dollar stadium in downtown Pawtucket. The latest version of the bill would have the state, city of Pawtucket, and the team fund the park.