If the state gives financial incentives to Providence to move the Pawtucket Red Sox from McCoy Stadium to a new stadium to be built on the Providence waterfront, Pawtucket plans to seek state money to raze and redevelop McCoy.
That’s the word from Tony Pires, administration director for Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, after a meeting today with members of the Pawtucket City Council and the General Assembly’s Pawtucket delegation.
``If a package of state financial incentives is put together to attract the PawSox and move the team six miles away from McCoy Stadium, then we feel it is only fair that the state give Pawtucket incentives to help tear down McCoy and repurpose that area,’’ said Pires in an interview with RIPR.
The state put about $12 million into McCoy in the mid 1990s to renovate the city-owned McCoy and increase the seating capacity to keep the team from moving to a new $40 million stadium in Worcester that the state of Massachusetts and then-Gov. William Weld planned to build to lure the team from Rhode Island.
Pires, a former R.I. House Finance chairman, was a crucial player in the State House deal that financed the McCoy renovations in the 1990s. ``When we sold the idea at that time we sold it as an important recreational destination for families that could enjoy almost major league baseball at affordable prices. We never sold it as economic development,’’ said Pires.
The new owners of the PawSox have proposed moving the team to a new facility that would be built along Providence’s downtown waterfront on land opened by the demolition of the former Route 195 highway. The principal owners of the new group are prominent Providence lawyer James Skeffington and Larry Lucchino, president of the Boston Red Sox, the major league affiliate of the PawSox.
Pires said the city plans to move ahead with a plan to development more amenities around McCoy Stadium in the event that the Providence move does not work out. ``We realize we are not the number one option, but if the number one option does not work out we want to be ready with a backup plan.’’