Governor signs legislation to keep team in Pawtucket

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed legislation Friday designed to keep the Boston Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket.

The bill enables the team, state and city to begin shopping for bonds to finance a new stadium at Slater Mill in Pawtucket.

Under the legislation, the PawSox would contribute $45 million to the $83 million project. The team also would be responsible for any cost overruns. The state and city would be responsible for the remaining $38 million in bonds issued by the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency.

Raimondo issued a statement saying the legislation gives Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien an opportunity to work with the team and gives Pawtucket ”a shot at meaningful economic revitalization.”

”As I’ve said all along, the PawSox belong in Pawtucket. No one wants to see them end up in Worcester,” she said.

The plan, pushed by Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, would finance that money with so-called ”special revenue bonds.”

Only tax revenue generated directly by the stadium and its surrounding area would go toward paying off the bonds.

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said in a memo released Monday that bondholders would like to see about $5.2 million in revenue each year to in state and city tax revenues to cover debt from a proposed stadium.

If revenues fall short, the state wouldn’t need to settle the debt. It’s less risky but more expensive to finance bonds when they aren’t guaranteed by the state.

A PawSox spokesman said Monday the team was reviewing the legislation and would meet with Pawtucket officials to discuss the plan.