Senate Finance announces changes to PawSox stadium bill

Senate Finance announces changes to PawSox stadium bill

PAWTUCKET – After hearing from the public and experts in the field, members of the Senate Finance Committee have announced a revised proposal for financing of a new baseball stadium in downtown Pawtucket.

"The hearing process identified numerous ways to improve the legislation and lower public fiscal risks while enhancing the likelihood of the possible benefits," reads a report from the committee released Thursday afternoon.

“The legislation responds to the concerns raised during the committee process. It strengthens what was already a good deal for the city and the state, and provides a mutually beneficial path forward to keep the PawSox in Pawtucket,” said Finance Committee Chairman William J. Conley Jr., of District 18, East Providence, Pawtucket.

“The committee engaged in a vigorous review of this proposal, and now more than ever I believe it is a good deal for the city and the state. Even under the most conservative estimates, the public revenue generated by the PawSox for the state would fully account for the state’s debt service, meaning the stadium pays for itself. This revised legislation enables the continuation of the partnership that exists today at McCoy Stadium in a new and better located ballpark that will jumpstart development in downtown Pawtucket."

The following amendments were made and the committee will decide in January whether to send it to the full General Assembly for a vote:

• It steers more of the revenue from naming rights to the city of Pawtucket. Based on the fact that the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency will be the owner of the new ballpark and the determination that Pawtucket will experience a gap between new revenue and annual debt obligation until sufficient ancillary development has taken place, 50 percent of the naming revenues would go to the city to assist with annual debt service payments. That revenue is estimated at $250,000.

• Premium ticket surcharge revenue would be transferred from the state to the city.

• The legislation requires any future lease to include a provision that the team develop a minimum of 50,000 square feet of real estate contemporaneously with the construction of the ballpark. It provides for a $275 penalty for each day after the park opens that the ancillary development fails to reach substantial completion.

• Any future lease must contain a requirement that the team be responsible for the daily operational maintenance of the park and its costs. The lease must also make clear that the team be responsible for a minimum 50 percent of annual capital expenditures and that the city, state and team must contribute a minimum of $150,000 per year to a capital fund. No capital funds may be used for operational maintenance.

• The $12 million of equity pledged by team owners is required by the bill to be the first funds expended toward construction costs of the new park. Should construction come in less than the $83 million projected, the savings must be distributed to the team, city and state. The team will absorb any construction overruns.

• The bill requires the lease to contain a provision directing the city to provide planning and operational assistance on public park aspects of the park. The lease must also specify that the facility operate year-round in and around the park, separate from baseball uses, to create public recreational, social and communal benefits.

• The bill encourages a design promoting energy efficiency and sustainable design, construction and operations.

The Pawtucket Red Sox are seeking a financing deal where the team invests $45 million into the "Ballpark at Slater Mill," the state invests $23 million, and the city of Pawtucket contributes $15 million.

Comments

Can someone please explain to me why the TAX PAYER of this OVER TAXED to DEATH State has to supply money to the multi billionaires so that THEY can build a NEW stadium and make more BILLIONS of dollars ? Why are there always people with A LOT more MONEY than me LOOKING to TAKE MY MONEY and SAVE THEIR'S ? KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT of MY POCKETS !!!!! And I DO NOT LIKE BASEBALL !

Like most people, I don't like to fly and I almost never fly, but I still have to pay taxes to maintain T.F. Green airport so the rich folks can fly. Go figure. You could try some ALL CAPS on that one. The ballpark is a drop in the bucket, it's a pretty good deal and has gotten much better with negotiation, and the alternative (PawSox moving to Worcester) is still much worse.