Speaker’s office: Plenty of time to reach agreement on PawSox

Speaker’s office: Plenty of time to reach agreement on PawSox

PAWTUCKET – Discussions on a potential new stadium deal between state officials and the Pawtucket Red Sox are still progressing, a spokesman for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said this week.

Larry Berman said Monday said talks are ongoing, but there is no agreement yet that would send the proposal for a new stadium at the Apex site in downtown Pawtucket to be considered by the House of Representatives.

“There are still several weeks left to our session,” said Berman.

Asked if there’s confidence that a deal will get done, Berman said officials are “still talking, which is a good thing.”

Members of Pawtucket’s General Assembly delegation have said they expect a vote to happen before the end of the General Assembly session in June.

Mattiello and his team have been discussing ways to shift more of the risk for the $83 million venture to the PawSox instead of to taxpayers.

The current proposal has the team investing $45 million into stadium development, the state $23 million, and Pawtucket $15 million. Advocates say revenues will more than pay for the stadium, but Mattiello has insisted that a proposal approved by the Rhode Island Senate last year still places too much of the burden on taxpayers.

Representatives for the PawSox couldn’t be reached this week on the progress of negotiations.

The PawSox have indicated that they’re also in talks with officials in Worcester, Mass., about developing a new stadium in that city, but have emphasized that their priority is to get something done in Pawtucket, where a new train station and transit-oriented development is planned just up the road next to a massive brewing complex.

Mayor Donald Grebien and Pawtucket’s General Assembly members have highlighted the importance of keeping the PawSox in Pawtucket, both as a quality of life amenity and economic development driver. The team has indicated that McCoy Stadium simply won’t work as a long-term home, and the state is in danger of losing the minor league team if a deal isn’t struck, they emphasize.