Foundation meeting focuses on ballpark, economic development

Foundation meeting focuses on ballpark, economic development

Kevin Tracy, at podium, speaks at the Pawtucket Foundation’s Annual Meeting Monday. At left are Jan Brodie, Mayor Donald Grebien, and Daniel Sullivan Jr. (Breeze photo by Kevin Aherne)

PAWTUCKET – Economic development and baseball were hot topics at the Pawtucket Foundation’s 17th Annual Meeting on Monday, Jan. 8, held at The Guild on Main Street.

Kevin Tracy, co-chairman of the foundation, kicked off the meeting, offering an anecdote about the recently opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, host of Monday night’s College Football National Championship.

“Average ticket resale price for tonight’s game is $2,400,” said Tracy. “Two years ago, when Alabama played in the same game, it was $640. I think you can build a stadium and expect ticket values to increase in price,” Tracy added, referring to a proposed new baseball stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The Senate Finance Committee was set to consider enabling legislation on a financing deal for the stadium Tuesday. Other speakers Monday included Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, Pawtucket Foundation Executive Director Jan Brodie, Co-Chairman Daniel Sullivan Jr., and Treasurer Dave Fontaine.

Grebien also talked about the efforts surrounding the proposed new ballpark, considered to be a key piece in the redevelopment of the downtown.

“We are talking about stadiums, ballparks, and development,” said Grebien. “I truly want to thank each one of you here for the amazing job that you have done to advance what is really a vital piece of economic development for the city of Pawtucket.”

The city has a lot of excitement right now, said Grebien.

“We are here in this brewery, which had been an abandoned mill, and now, it’s the home of the Isle Brewers Guild. Right across the way, we are going to see transit-related development, the commuter rail, sometime in early 2020,” he said.

“Things are really coming together,” added Grebien.

Diossa thanked the Pawtucket Foundation for its efforts.

“What is good for Central Falls is good for Pawtucket. What is good for Pawtucket is good for Central Falls,” Diossa said, citing the ongoing bond between the two cities, which includes joint work on the train station.

“The confidence level has been boosted in both cities, to the point where we made an official bid to the governor to include our cities in Rhode Island’s Amazon HQ2 bid,” Diossa said.

Brodie highlighted some of the more prominent projects the foundation has worked on of late, including the commuter rail station, the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium, and the Amazon HQ2 bid.

“We need to incentivize investors and developers to come,” she said.

The meeting concluded with announcements of the foundation’s annual award winners, to be officially presented at an annual dinner on April 25. The award winners include:

• Heritage Award: Dupuis Oil

• Special Distinction Award: TEN31 and REVEL Factory

• Person of the Year: Jeremy Duffy and Devin Kelly, co-founders, Isle Brewers Guild