[Summit] Baseball Stadium

Gayle Gifford gayle at ceffect.com
Sun Mar 1 12:23:59 CST 2015

The City of Providence is going to have a hard time stopping the Stadium as
it does not control the I-195 land. But it will be important for residents
opposed to any deal to speak out.
As Julia said, the spot the owners have chosen is already the site of a park
in development. According to  a recent Providence Journal article a park in
the area is required under the federal financing deals for the highway
relocation and many people have been working for long time on the park
design and the design of the Pedestrian bridge. 
We, the taxpayers, may already still be paying for the debt on McCoy stadium
and financing.

While I'm not inclined to use the word scum, I do take umbradge at the idea
that a small group of wealthy owners has a new toy and is oblivious to
anyone else's work or life but having their eye on a piece of property that
has already been designated for a different use. And that  he cares so
little for the river and its value to anyone else other than something to
hit homerun baseballs into.
Pawtucket has pretty much said that there would be no big economic loss to
losing the stadium (other than a few bars and the organizations that th
PawSox made contributions to), which does make one pause as to how
Providence would benefit economically if in all the years that McCoy has
been there it hasn't generated any economic multiplier effect. 

However, moving the stadium to Providence and increasing the number of seats
would potentially make more money for the owners as the stadium could
capture people working downcity during the day who could walk over or, as
the owners are hoping, Massachusetts folks taking the train to Providence
and walking over. 

The Ryan Center at URI (another sports project of CVS's TomRyan) was built
with $18 million in state appropriations and $21 million in revenue bonds
(which we are also probably still paying for). Only $15 million privately

I think it is a terrible idea. I do wonder what the impact of 74 games -
mainly in the evening, plus Brown University football games, plus outdoor
concerts and other events will have on Fox Point, College Hill and Downcity
living. Ball games come with lots of music and stadium lights.  

According to the papers, the owners are asking that the land be given/leased
to them for free. Apparently there are many problems with that, again
because of the financing and debt to move the highway and open up those
lands which were supposed to be recovered through the sale of land. And if
land is given to the ballpark, won't all the other potential settlers in
those lands also expect the same deal (Not that they aren't already asking
for tax-abatements). 

There is an alternative site circulating which would be on the Victory
Plating property,pushing it farther out of downtown, nearer to the Allens
Ave area and backed up  to the highway.  And David Goldenberg's idea to move
it farther down Allens Ave to the "Carnal Knowledge District" (funny op ed
this week).

But a question I've been asking all along is what will be the impact on all
of that I-195 land with sea level rise or a Category IV or V hurricane which
is long overdue to strike here? Wouldn't the best use be to figure out a way
to mitigate the storm damage to protect the exiting downcity investments?
What is the cost of having to rebuild downcity and south of downcity and up
the rivers?  

>From the Metro Special Area Management Plan 2009:
"Providence's vulnerability to flooding stems from two main geographic
features: its location at the head of Narragansett Bay and its low elevation
downtown and along the port. During the Hurricane of 1938, Providence
experienced a storm surge of more than 15 feet above MTL, with waves
measuring 10 feet above the surge level (CRMC, 2007a). The hurricane flood
waters inundated parts of downtown, which damaged buildings and other
infrastructure, destroyed cars, and demolished the wharves of the inner
harbor. Transportation, water, and other utilities were not operational for
over a week after the storm. In Providence, damage amounted to $16.3
million, equivalent to about $225 million in today's dollars. In 1954, the
downtown area was flooded by 12 feet of water (Vallee and Dion, 1996).
Damage is estimated to have been $25.1 million, about $134 million in
today's dollars (Providence, 2000). Further, these damage estimates do not
take into account the increased development in the City over the past
half-century; they are simply updated dollar losses of the monetary losses
of 1938 and 1954. One can surmise that the havoc wreaked on the City of
Providence by storms of these magnitudes would have losses totaling much
more than the amounts given above."

Gayle Gifford

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