EDITORIAL: The PawSox Stadium Solution
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
For nearly three years, far too much of Rhode Island’s energy has been consumed with an endless circular debate over the future of the PawSox and the requests by the ownership group for public subsidies for a new stadium.
On one side is a group of some of America’s most successful and wealthy businessmen who purchased a minor league baseball team of their own free will. Only one of them is a Rhode Island resident.
A second group is comprised of elected state officials who fear voter backlash, and are queasy about providing public dollars to a group of America’s super-rich. Their enthusiasm is further muted when the package called for $38 million in public financing — sparking memories of the never-ending Rhode Island nightmare of 38 Studios.
The third group is the most unlikely coalition of Progressive Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and taxpayer groups all adamantly opposed to public subsidies for the stadium.
There is a solution.
It is quite simple and fair.
The construct would preserve the PawSox’s continue play Rhode Island and begin the process of restoring the team’s brand — once beloved and now becoming a symbol of corporate greed.
1) The state of Rhode Island would acquire the land and provide a ground lease for 99-years to the PawSox ownership group, In addition, the state would build the necessary roads. A commitment similar to the development of the Patriot’s Gillette Stadium.
2) The owners of the PawSox would finance their own stadium. It is what Bob Kraft did, it is what Jeremy Jacobs did with the TD Bank Garden. This structure would allow the owners to begin to rebuild a relationship with Rhode Islanders. The PawSox were once a beloved iconic element of Rhode Island life, but the past three years of demands and threats has dismantled the legacy of Ben Mondor and crippled attendance.
For the owners of the PawSox, the decision is becoming clear — they can be the corporate group that threatens and cajoles, they can be the group that moves the team away, or they can assert themselves as the civic-minded leaders who create a permanent legacy and enhance the lives of Rhode Islanders. Short money to create a positive legacy.
This deal would show that Rhode Islanders value the PawSox by providing millions to create an infrastructure and help to rehab Pawtucket and the deal would show that the owners appreciate the public support.
If not, best of luck in Worcester, Montreal or wherever. Rhode Island needs to move on to tackle other challenges and seize on bigger opportunities. (Maybe the better opportunity is to talk to Kraft about moving the Revolution to Providence anyway).
Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017
Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?
Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...
Definitely be voting: 78%
Probably be voting: 13%
What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?
Jobs and economy: 21%
State budget: 9%
Corruption/Public integrity: .8%
Don’t know: .9%
Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?
Net: Approve: 28%
Definitely approve: 15%
Probably approve: 14%
Net: Reject: 67%
Probably reject: 19%
Definitely reject: 48%
Don't know: 4%
The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).
$50,000 or less: 27%
More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%
More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%
More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%
$150,000 or more: 13%
Don't know/refused: 17%
What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?
Black or African American: 6%
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