The Pawsox are a valuable asset for the State of Rhode Island. There are a lot of people who would miss them if they left. And a new stadium could be the basis for some badly-needed redesign of Pawtucket’s downtown. But voters are just about fed up with public subsidies for private investors. First, there is the unfinished business of 38Studios. Then there is the concern that our Commerce Corporation is needlessly giving away your tax dollars to out-of-state business. If we don’t see some leadership soon from the Governor, we could lose the Pawsox.
What would I do as governor? I would personally sit down with the Pawsox owners and lay all the cards on the table. I would want to know if the new stadium could be built in stages, with luxury features to be added later if attendance estimates held up. I would want to see a plan for the old stadium including ongoing costs. I would want to know who owned every piece of property in the proposed redevelopment area along with the nature of any purchase options that might exist. The outcome of this meeting would be an agreement including the lowest state investment I could negotiate and still make a deal. Then I would ask the legislature to put it on the ballot and let the people decide.