September 28, 2017 – Calling it a rare opportunity to accelerate the revitalization of Downtown Pawtucket, Grow Smart RI expressed its enthusiastic support for the proposed Pawsox stadium at the former Apex site.
“The Ballpark at Slater Mill would build on the city’s revitalization momentum, catalyze a more vibrant and walkable downtown and help set the table for attracting additional private investment to the city”, said Scott Wolf, Executive Director.
Pawtucket is becoming a place where more people want to live, work and play and city leaders should be commended for having the vision and the unstoppable drive to fight tirelessly in achieving it. This proposal is a model of smart growth in action, taking an underutilized and largely vacant brownfield site in the downtown and transforming it into an attractive and inviting gateway to Rhode Island from the north.
In addition to hosting PawSox games, the project will host numerous other community recreational activities. It will also result in several other public amenities, including improved riverfront and bikepath access, while reinforcing other revitalization efforts already underway in Downtown Pawtucket.
Together with the planned commuter rail station and transit hub on nearby Goff Street, the Pawtucket / Central Falls downtown area is poised to attract more private investment, strengthening the tax base, growing the economy of Northern Rhode Island and improving the quality of life for area residents.
While Rhode Islanders are right to expect their elected leaders to be deliberative with public resources, we shouldn’t be afraid or reluctant to invest prudently in strengthening our communities. The parties have negotiated what appears to be a reasonable partnership for achieving public and private goals. The proposal relies far less on public sector funding than has been the case with most other recent minor league baseball stadium construction projects.
Grow Smart RI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research, education and advocacy organization. It has a nearly 20-year history of promoting best practice tools and policy reforms that achieve sustainable and equitable economic and community revitalization based on nurturing and leveraging Rhode Island’s many place-based assets.
See Background paper that outlines the key facts we considered in reaching our decision to support the Ball Park proposal.