News flash! State Rep. Aaron Regunberg has sent out an email blast announcing that negotiations between the state and the owners of the PawSox have ended without a deal and that the Providence waterfront ballpark idea is dead. I have no other information than that.
World turned upside down!
[Update: Speaker Mattiello has spoken, confirming the talks’ breakdown.]
If true, I find it disappointing. The stadium, if built in the traditional style proposed, with a deal good for the state (nobody was in favor of the first deal), could have made the Route 195 land more attractive for business and for citizens, at least more so than the public park that has been proposed. The riverfront is already lined with parks, so a ballpark could have provided a civic amenity that Providence lacks.
So if the stadium is dead, maybe officials for the city and state can make sure the park will be better than it has seemed thus far. A goofy pedestrian bridge seems to be on hold, while a goofy pavilion may or may not be in the works. And a private entrepreneur wants to build an outdoor concert and events facility where the park (or stadium) would be.
Let’s hope that if this news is true, something better will emerge. Providence and Rhode Island have a history in recent years of doing really great stuff, moving railroads, moving rivers, moving highways, building a dynamic and attractive downtown shopping mall, not to mention revitalizing the city’s commercial core. Let’s build on that record.
Here is my apparently prescient analysis, “Tidbits of stadium news,” from Sept 14. Long ago, after lead owner James Skeffington’s death last May, in “The Skeffington legacy?” I wrote, “My take is that if they just want to take the money and run, the vision will fade soon enough.”