Updated from Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary'' column in GoLocal24.com
The Pawtucket Red Sox want the State of Rhode Island to cough up some money to help the Boston Red Sox farm team build a new stadium, either keeping it where McCoy Stadium is or somewhere else in the old mill town, perhaps at the site of the Mayan pyramid of the Apex store. Pawtucket is attractive because, among other things, it’s close to Massachusetts. (Actually, most of tiny Rhode Island is close to the Bay State. Indeed, many Rhode Islanders drive through parts of Massachusetts daily to get to parts of Rhode Island.)
The new -- and tough -- state Senate president, Dominick Ruggerio, who knows a lot about construction, likes the idea of a new stadium and having the state pay for some of this project, which would benefit some very rich people. Apparently Gov. Gina Raimondo also likes the idea, which might involve putting up a replica of Fenway Park.
Would it be worth it? Years ago, when I worked in the newspaper business, the line was that while only about 25 percent of daily newspaper readers read the sports pages regularly, that 25 percent is intensely interested in their teams andapt to buy the products advertised in the sports pages (especially car stuff). Should the state spend a lot of money to please the minority of people who are baseball enthusiasts, and in a time when tax revenues are falling behind projections?
And a new stadium in downtown Pawtucket would remove from the city a lot of land that could be used for a diversified mix of business and give it to one business that, of course, could up and leave.
Of course, there would be perhaps a couple of hundred temporary construction jobs to build a new stadium but only a few dozen permanent ones (if that) at a new stadium.
Still, having a shiny new stadium in a well-landscaped setting and access to public transit might raise some animal spirits in Greater Providence. I think it would be very dubious “economic development’’ from a macro viewpoint. But if it’s to be done, why not get a really exciting design for it and put it where many people could see it, including its very own “Green Monster,’’ from some distance away.
How about along the water in East Providence?