Red Sox: Providence ballpark plans for PawSox have resurfaced

The Boston Red Sox Triple-A team may (again) have a new stadium in Providence. Another plan for a riverfront park has surfaced.

The Boston Red Sox are not planning on a new stadium in the near and possibly the far future, but the same does not hold true for the possibility of a new park for the Triple-A franchise – the Pawtucket Red Sox. The issue itself has resonated since 2006 with various proposals put forward that either gained or lost traction.

The current stadium – McCoy – is archaic and dates back to 1938. The stadium itself has been renovated and expanded several times to meet both demand and International League requirements. Previous owner Ben Mondor had diligently made efforts to maintain the historical integrity of the park, but the Mondor family has since sold the team to a group headed by former Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino.

The original stadium plan was released to the public in 2015 and would be built along the Providence waterfront. Billed as a further piece in downtown revitalization and development the initial plan included some public financing and would provide a venue for other sporting events and concerts, but the bulk of the $85 Million project would be privately financed. That optimism lasted about one month before the ownership group pulled the plug.

The ownership group did what any sports entrepreneurs would do when faced with a situation of a plan not coming together – look elsewhere. The first choice was Worcester with Springfield also an option. Framingham was a possible consideration – maybe Lou Merloni could have lent a hand?

The ownership consortium had stated the potential park effort was scuttled by getting the land. Groups had also organized to help preserve Pawtucket – gateway to Central Falls – as a home for the team. Bumper sticker campaign or Facebook – the social media has a forum for the anti-stadium faction.

Never say never when opportunity knocks and in 2016 the potential of remaining in Pawtucket resurfaced. Naturally “A Plan” will be examined to attempt to address the ballpark issue before the lease expires in 2020. The park is the oldest in the league and it certainly shows.

Providence has (again) resurfaced as a possible home for the Triple-A team. In a not so surprising development, the team and Apex Development have had talks regarding the Apex Department Stire site in Providence. The riverfront option also exists as the park would be near the Seekonk River – the Danube of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

What happens is still undecided. Financing, park design, community input, redevelopment impact, environmental impact and what happens regarding the soon to be released study on the Pawtucket feasibility await.

What is known from my years of personal experience dating back to when Pawtucket was Double-A is a replacement is simply needed. The renovations to the existing park and its poor location make the life expectancy quite short-lived. The experience of attending a game at McCoy is fun – at least the first few times.

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