House Finance Committee hosts Paw Sox proposal hearing

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Another hearing occurred at the State House on Tuesday for the plan that could determine whether the Paw Sox have a future in Rhode Island.

The House Finance Committee heard testimony from different speakers who want the baseball team to stay in the city.

Their proposal calls for state and Pawtucket taxpayers to borrow $38 million to cover part of the cost of a new ballpark on the side of the old Apex building.

Supporters say the deal can create local jobs and help the economy while keeping a Rhode Island tradition.

Opponents told Eyewitness News in the past that they’d like to see officials explore different options such as paying to fix and improve McCoy Stadium, or even letting the team leave town.

At the hearing, officials said 18 cities have reached out saying they’re interested in the team.

In his opening statements, Rep. Marvin Abney, House Finance Committee chairman, said this meeting is not a debate, but only a hearing. The goal is to listen to all the information behind the proposed legislation so the committee can inform all other representatives in the house.

“We’re going to stay focused on the bill this is not whether or not this is a good or bad idea but making sure we understand the value of the numbers,” Rep. Abney said.

On Oct. 18, the House Finance Committee is holding a second hearing where the public will be able to testify. It will take place at 3:30 p.m. in Room 35 of the State House.

Public testimonies will be time-limited to allow for maximum participation from those who signed up to speak.

The Senate Finance Committee will meet on Oct. 11 and 12 to continue its review of the legislation that would provide public support for a new stadium for the Paw Sox.

The hearing on Oct. 11 will take place from 6-10 p.m. in the Media Presentation Theatre at New England Institute of Technology. The Oct. 12 hearing will take place from 6-10 p.m. in Room 283 at the Roger Williams University School of Law.

The hearings are open to the public and written testimony is encouraged, either submitted on the Committee’s designated website or in person at the hearing.