Fava: Why was there no community consultation prior to the design and siting of the new stadium?
Baseball RI: The design of the ballpark is a conceptual plan. It's not a final design. Developers generally don't hold community meetings on design until they are sure the project is a go. This is a conceptual rendering. That said, I did read your facebook profile, and while I know that you're opposed to the project, I think your voice with your experience and eye toward sustainabliity and environmental concern is an important one to add to the conversation should the plan become a reality. We absoulutely (sic) want to solicit feedback and ideas from people who have ideas about how to make this the best ballpark in the country, and I do hope that in the end, should the plan move forward, you will contribute your expertise to these discussions.
Fava: Why do you feel entitled to use land that was designated for a public park for what will be a private baseball stadium?
Baseball RI: We don't feel entitled, we feel honored. 3.5 acres of this design will remain open space for the public to access. We will enhance the existing site by creating a kids zone, where playground equipment (sic) and batting areas will provide recreation for families year-round.
Fava: How do you propose that this stadium will generate more than minimum wage, seasonal jobs? Also, will there be a direct net job gain with the park moving from Pawtucket to Providence?
Baseball RI: In terms of jobs, we addressed this on Facebook. Community leaders have expressed support for this project because it will provide jobs to people who have been marginalized by the labor force in the City and State. There was once a time when teens could choose from summer jobs, including those offered by various cities and towns, but that time has lomg (sic) gone. We are excited to provide employment, training and life skills for residents who would otherwise have limited pathways into the labor market.
Fava: I see an organized and vocal opposition to this plan. If this is a good plan, why isn’t there vocal, grassroots support for it?
Baseball RI: We have lots of support, but in campaigns, it's often the case that opposition is more vocal than supporters. Our web analytics, messages via email and letters to electeds tell us that many, many RI residents are in support of this project.
Fava: How would I, a resident of Coventry, benefit from $120 million in state funding being put into this ballpark?
Baseball RI: The number won't be 120 million, but as a Coventry resident you will benefit from increased tourism, and visibility of the state because there is will be a unique destination in Providence: the only AAA baseball team in New England, which is affiliated with a popular Major League franchise. Please look to Durham, NC to see the incredible economic impact the Bulls ballpark had on the local economy. That project was not a welcome one when it was proposed, in fact, many electeds lost their seats over it.. but today, you'd be hard pressed to find someone in that area who wishes the park was never built.
Fava: The owners mentioned that they have been contacted by businesses that like the plan to put the stadium downtown. I have yet to hear the name of any of these businesses. Would they be willing to get business leaders and politicians to voice their support?
Baseball RI: (No response)
Fava: $85 million is what the Red Sox pay a single player over a few years. Surely one of the owners can spend that much on a facility for their AAA team without needing public funds. Why aren’t they willing to simply spend their own money? If the risk is too great, why do they want the people of Rhode Island to take it on?
Baseball RI: Pubic/ Private partnarships (sic) are typical for most large business ventures, not just here but all over the country.
Fava: Why is a baseball stadium a better use of state money than business incubators, tax incentives for technology and biomedical firms, affordable housing, schools, roads or any of the many things that Rhode Islanders are actually asking for?
Baseball RI: This isn't an either/ or scenatio (sic). We are one of many uses for development incentives. We aren't using a finite amount of money that would otherwise be spent on something else. Biotech firms will still come, nad (sic) in fact, they are excited about the possibility of locating neat (sic) a ballpark, because it's a quality of life issue for the type of workers these firms attract.
Fava: I go to PawSox games and many of the people I see attending are families that leave in the 7th inning to beat traffic and get the kids to bed. These not people who are going to be spending money on restaurants and hotels, yet you don’t want to alienate them. Please explain how you think this demographic is going bring lots of money to Providence?
Baseball RI: (No response)
Fava: Baseball is decreasing in popularity with black youths. Providence is a minority majority city. How does a baseball stadium correlate as a driver of economic growth with these demographic trends?
Baseball RI: The biggest minority population in Providence is Latino, and they are overwhelmingly in favor of a baseball park- baseball is very popular in the Latino community and many of our players are Latino. As far as African American youths are concerned, we have spoken to many leaders in that community as well, and they are very excited to provide an affordable, safe place or kids to be entertained in the summer.
Fava: How do you think that this stadium will bring a million people downtown? That’s the entire population of this state. That would require 100 sellout events at a minor league baseball stadium. That insults our intelligence.
Baseball RI: We don't expect a million RI'ers. In fact, as of now, nearly 50% of PawSox visitors come from out of state. We know that this ballpark will bring visitors from all over New England who will purchase hotel rooms, eat food in our restaurants, shop in our stores, and plan vacations around the RI area.