Mayor Donald R. Grebien issues a call for action
PAWTUCKET – Mayor Donald R. Grebien calls for the General Assembly to act immediately to approve the Ballpark at Slater Mill. This ballpark and the ancillary development are critical for Pawtucket’s future. Rhode Island is in jeopardy of losing the PawSox, the development around the new ballpark and the millions of dollars in revenue that the state receives from the team being here.
Currently, the City of Worcester is finalizing a deal to build a stadium for the PawSox. Massachusetts Governor Baker publically committed to the project, and the City of Worcester is prepared to commit significant dollars to the new stadium project.
“Rhode Island’s leaders must act and approve this proposal in January,” said Mayor Grebien. “Our PawSox are going to end up in Worcester if we do not act. We cannot afford to watch the tax dollars go to another city and another state.”
It is not for a lack of vetting. After lengthy analysis and negotiations by CommerceRI; after 10 General Assembly hearings; after drafted and redrafted legislative language; after vetting and review by elected leaders, staff, the public, the media, and national experts; after the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, eight mayors, chambers of commerce from across the state, labor groups, Grow Smart and others have all endorsed the deal. Why? Because they know it is a good deal for Rhode Island and for Pawtucket.
The City has developers ready to invest and build around the downtown ballpark, such as hotels, housing, and retail space. The Pawtucket Red Sox have also committed to development around the stadium all of which would generate millions of dollars in additional revenue for the state and city. In fact, the Pawtucket Red Sox’s $45 million commitment is the largest private investment in the City’s history. All we have to do is say yes.
Mayor Grebien added, “Rhode Islanders don’t want to see yet another icon, place for families and business disappear. And Pawtucket cannot lose our chance to re-build our city and boost the Blackstone Valley. Now, as elected leaders, we cannot be paralyzed by the past. We have to move our great state forward. We have to act. And we have to act now.”
The enabling legislation has been vetted and input has been incorporated after 35 hours of public hearings and testimony by the General Assembly. We heard overwhelming support from Rhode Islanders at the hearings. A seventy-four-page report was completed leading to the same conclusion –this is good for Rhode Island and great for Pawtucket.