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R.I. House FinCom passes PawSox bill

June 22, 2018
Photo | Grant Welker
Photo | Grant Welker
The former Apex site in Pawtucket is being eyed for a new PawSox stadium.

The Rhode Island Finance Committee approved a bill Thursday that calls for an $83-million ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox as that city hopes to prevent Worcester from courting away its minor league baseball team.

The committee met late into the night and passed the bill out of committee after 10 p.m. when the bill was originally scheduled to be taken up at 4 p.m.

Now, the bill must pass the House, Senate and Gov. Gina Raimondo's desk. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Friday afternoon.

However, some lawmakers are still skeptical, including Rep. Antonio Giarrusso, who - citing the lack of a PawSox representative in the room - asked House Financial Advisor Sharon Reynolds Ferland if the PawSox are even in favor of the bill.

According to Reynolds Ferland, there are no assurances from the team.

"What we're doing in adopting this ... is enabling a process to continue," she said

Both the team and Worcester have been virtually silent on ongoing talks to relocate the team to Worcester, but it is believed the team's deal in Worcester to build a park in the Canal District includes more public money than Rhode Island is offering and less from the team.

On Tuesday, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien urged lawmakers to strike a deal, saying the team will leave Pawtucket if a deal isn't reached in the state legislature.

"They all know what is to be gained by bringing a new attraction to Massachusetts," he said. "We need to keep them here."

"Don't subsidize Worcester," he added.

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