Since the Pawtucket Red Sox were sold, there has been a lot of talk about the team’s impending move. Some have criticized the team’s idea to move to Providence, but it isn’t a bad idea. Moving to the heart of the second largest city in New England, close to major highways, and playing in a new park are all great ideas. Of course, the devil is in the details.
The ownership group is reportedly interested in two parcels freed up by the relocation of I-195. One of the parcels was set aside for open space, yet they want it to build a 10,000 seat park. Strike one. They also reportedly want the land for free. Strike two. To make matters worse, it looks as though they may pursue Tax Breaks from the city and state. Strikes three and four.
It would be nice to keep the Pawsox in Rhode Island, and for them to move to Providence, but not at the expense of taxpayers. If you were to open a store, bakery, or other business, would you have the audacity to ask the government for land, tax breaks, and preferential treatment? Probably not. That level of audacity seems to be most prevalent in those with deep pockets and connections, not you and I.
What’s even more troubling is the lack of return for potential public investments. The land would be free, few taxes would be paid, and most of the permanent jobs are already in existence. Since when did moving jobs a few miles down I-95 south become job creation? There’s also a chance the move could backfire.
I could picture some fans losing interest in the team if they feel they received an unreasonable amount of assistance. I could also see current fans not wanting to visit Providence because of possible congestion, or parking problems. Plus, there’s also the price. Will fans have to pay to park? Will ticket prices rise? Both possibilities seem likely, and would hurt the team’s prospects.
I shouldn’t be surprised that many State Officials seem open to offering assistance to the
Pawtucket Rhode Island Red Sox, but I am. One would think the large losses sustained from the 38 Studios debacle would have made state officials think twice about another dubious project. Unfortunately, their memories are short and their pockets are deep. A very bad combination indeed.
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