Sox Coming to EP? "It's worth a look" - Councilman Joe Botelho
Will the Boston Red Sox's top prospects be showcased on the East Providence waterfront? Will kayakers chase down homerun balls in the bay like they do in San Francisco? Ward Three City Councilman Joe Botelho thinks it may be worth a look. "What would be better than having a AAA ball club playing at a waterfront stadium, surrounded by amenities that that would make the area a true jewel of New England!," asks Joe Botelho. In a recent public blog, Botelho asked local residents what they thought of the beleaguered Pawtucket Red Sox moving their stadium to the East Providence waterfront on Veteran's Memorial Parkway. "Could the PawSox have a home here in East Providence? I believe the answer is yes! Not only that, I believe that we could accommodate them with one of the best venues in New England, given the current circumstances and opportunities that have recently developed," Botelho said.
The Pawtucket Red Sox ownership wants a new McCoy Stadium. They want the state to allow the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency to raise over $70 million to construct a new downtown Pawtucket stadium. After the Curt Schilling debacle which cost Rhode Island taxpayers millions of dollars, some area lawmakers are wary of the plan to relocate the PawSox.
Soon the PawSox will be free to move their team anywhere they want to. PawSox brass has been talking with at least two Massachusetts communities about moving to them. So as the Rhode Island political game plays on, does East Providence offer an alternative?
Joe Botelho thinks the land on the parkway being developed by Chevron, is a good place to put a new stadium. "With the recent redirection of the Chevron development along the waterfront, as well as the acquisition of the P&W site, known as the South Quay area, by G&W out of Darien Connecticut, the stars may be aligned to unveil an unprecedented opportunity for the City of East Providence," writes Botelho.
With Chevron opting to move away from partnering with strictly residential developers to incorporating entertainment, dining and shopping venues into their plan, Botelho thinks "this would include a possible permanent entertainment pavilion with a potential partnership with Live Nation, along with other ventures that would follow them."
"This, along with the willingness of the new owners of the South Quay area, to entertain other uses for that parcel other than just a deep water port, has opened up an opportunity for both parties to work together to form a partnership that could result in a development that would rival the commercial seaport districts of both Boston and Portland Maine!" continues the Ward Three councilman.
Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien badly wants the team to stay in Pawtucket. Grebien and others think that the team has put together an attractive offer for the state to keep the Triple A club in Rhode Island. However, scorned taxpayers are looking at this with a wary eye. "I think it can be done," suggests Botelho.
Using Google Maps, Botelho placed an exact scale model replica of the Red Sox' Florida JetBlue stadium within the Parkway area along with approximately 4,000 parking spaces. "Opportunities like this come along once in a life time for a city like ours and we should embrace it with everything we have. What do you think?" Joe Botelho asked constituents,
Social media comments were mostly supportive of Botelho's idea, but only if there is little to no cost to local taxpayers. A couple of social media regulars were outright opposed due to cost and traffic concerns. "Remember, this area is in an economic enterprise zone," responded Botelho. We have financial tools we can use that other places can't that can certainly close the gap for what the PawSox are looking for and what we can offer. We have a definite advantage," he suggested.
Officials of the PawSox were not available to comment. In fact, a check of the PawSox website showed every link on the site was current except the "contact" tab. When trying to reach a team official, the link would say "not found, outdated link." No official was reachable by phone or email. Local East Providence officials were not readily available for comment. One council member said "no comment."
Assuming the PawSox do come to East Providence. What name would Reporter readers suggest for the top affiliate for the Boston Red Sox?