Independent study finds McCoy Stadium site lacking
A report that examines what to do with McCoy Stadium where the Pawtucket Red Sox play is finished and made public Friday.
Owners of the PawSox say the existing facility is dated, and something needs to be done with the facility. The team has a lease with the City of Pawtucket that owns the stadium through 2020.
The $100,000 report, more than 150 pages long, is a joint independent study paid for by the state of Rhode Island, City of Pawtucket, and the PawSox owners. For those hoping for good news to keep the stadium here, the report concludes that’s not likely.
A consulting team finds renovating the existing site and structure would cost about $68 million.
New construction, tearing down what's there now and building an entirely new modern flowing facility with other amenities, would cost $78 million.
Pendulum Studios independent study states a renovation would generate “...minimal return on a public investment and that there are a number of deficiencies in need of attention..."
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien has taken the reins to find a solution, telling NBC 10 News, "The next steps are going to be difficult regardless whether we reinvest there, whether we talked about another facility. Those are the conversations that are going to come."
According to the report, a completely new stadium at that location would "in all likelihood not provide an opportunity to attract private investment and development."
What about building a new one on the Apex site, that was first reported by NBC 10 on Jan. 18? Some find it hard to let go, like Manuel Rapso who lives near the stadium, saying, “This is a grandfather clock. It stays there because it's old. It's the position, everybody knows what's the position."
Others are ready to move, like Nurwen Cholopoy of Pawtucket. “Yes, that's a nice place. It's kind of like in the center of Pawtucket, and not really off to the side like over here."
The report does not address the Apex site, one of five other locations in Pawtucket. Grebien muses, “Talk about commuter rail, all the breweries that are happening, all the new businesses that are coming in. I can make the argument about what this does to our downtown, it brings activity downtown."
That location is closer to the highway, has easy access, to grow the attendance numbers too, all while keeping it in Pawtucket.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo was blindsided by the last proposal to move the team to an Interstate 195 Redevelopment parcel in Providence. At a press conference, she said, “The last time, I was frustrated because it came to us from the team as a done deal, and they wanted over $100 million dollars in taxpayers’ money, and we would get nothing."
This time, the approach is different.
“Money doesn't grow on trees, so it's all about what's the value how much can Pawtucket kick in, how much can the ownership team kick in, what do they need from the state,” Raimondo said. “But yeah, we'll talk about it."
Grebien adds, “Pawtucket -- the state and the city -- have skin in the game. So there's going to be that public-private partnership. I have the responsibility to do everything I can to keep the team here, but within a reasonable cost, but I don't know what that number is. What are their expectations, what are our expectations, how much is in the mix, who's paying for what? And as we do that and balance that, because it's taxpayers money, not my money, and I'm cognizant of that."
There are other options.
The City of Pawtucket has been in talks with other baseball teams to see if they would be interested in relocating to Pawtucket at McCoy Stadium if the PawSox can’t reach a deal and decides to go elsewhere.
To bring the current stadium just up to code, according to the report, it would cost about $35 million.