Pawtucket officials mull future of McCoy Stadium

(WJAR)

Rhode Island officials are pondering the future of a city-owned stadium now that the minor league Pawtucket Red Sox have announced they intend to leave for Massachusetts.

Worcester officials announced Friday that they have made a deal to bring the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox to the city.

The Providence Journal reports that Minor League Baseball territory rules likely would prohibit another team from moving into McCoy Stadium.

Pawtucket City Councilman Mark Wildenhain said the stadium and parking lots might make a good location for a safety complex with a central high school.

As far as the Apex site, which was the centerpiece of the PawSox proposal, Wildenhain said funds aren’t available to do anything at this point.

“Until somebody offers something -- again, we don’t have the money to do it, so it has to be somebody else coming in and wanting to do some type of a property -- and we haven’t heard of anything,” he said.

Wildenhain also said he won’t be holding a goodbye parade for the team.

“It leaves a bad taste in everybody’s mouth to feel like, ‘Hey, you know, what? We’ve been used for the last two or three years,’ to indicate that, yeah, ‘You want us to be loyal fans but then you want us to also wave goodbye to you on your way out the door,’” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to see that.”

The stadium anchors its neighborhood and is important to the couple of eateries nearby.

“I know a lot of customers -- they not very happy with that,” Jeff Wang of The Right Spot Diner said of the move.

Customers said they would rather see the team called the “Hot Wieners” than the “WooSox.”

“I think the focus definitely needs to be put on schools, things for our kids to grow and become better people, but taking away the stadium doesn’t help that,” Tayla Arneson, one customer said.

Recent years have seen baseball attendance drop off. Craig Ferara, a high school student, said he used to love going when he was in elementary school.

“It was a big field trip it used to be fun, but now I’m in high school and we don’t do things like that anymore,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m losing interest.”

A spokesman for Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor on Monday said Pryor has been meeting with Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien. This year's state budget includes $300,000 for repairs at the 76-year-old stadium.

Grebien said although many were struggling with the news Friday, the city will "continue to move forward toward an even brighter future." He plans to be making a statement Wednesday after the details of the Worcester deal are made public.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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