Chamber backs PawSox new home; Sept. 27 breakfast offers info, Q&A

Chamber backs PawSox new home; Sept. 27 breakfast offers info, Q&A

LINCOLN – At a recent meeting of the Board of Directors of the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, the chamber voted unanimously to support the proposal for the “Ballpark at Slater Mill” as a new home for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The chamber also announced a new Eggs & Issues Breakfast to which all are invited. It will be held Wednesday, Sept. 27, from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. at Kirkbrae Country Club, 197 Old River Road. A full breakfast buffet will be offered. Tickets are $20 for members; $40 for non-members. Call 334-1000 or go to www.nrichamber.com to register.

“The Chamber‘s Board reviewed the proposal and saw this as excellent economic development for Pawtucket, Northern Rhode Island and the entire state. We believe it is important for us to promote a strong public/private partnership that includes a $45 million investment by the PawSox ownership,” said Ernie Almonte, chairman of the NRI Chamber’s Board.

John Gregory, president/CEO of the chamber added, “The $45 million is the largest private investment ever made in Pawtucket. The ownership model is the same, with the City of Pawtucket owning the stadium. The city will lease the stadium to the state and the state will then sub lease it to the Pawtucket Red Sox.”

The ancillary development will help to revitalize downtown and become an attractive gateway to Rhode Island.

The chamber also believes that while there is always risk in this case the risk is minimal. For example, the payment for the bonds issued by the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency will come from taxes generated by the ballpark. The state’s average annual payment will be $1.4 million, and this payment is well below the existing revenues currently being sent to the state. There is also the safeguard that the Pawtucket Red Sox will pay for any construction cost overruns.

At the Sept. 27 breakfast, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien and members of the leadership team from the Pawtucket Red Sox will discuss the proposal including, financing, who will pay for it, what’s the risk factor, who will own it and who will operate it.