With over 200 people in attendance, Providence’s Point Street Dueling Pianos ended up being a hot ticket on Tuesday evening. The event, a forum about the proposed construction of a baseball stadium for the PawSox hosted by Harvard Business School Association of Southeastern New England and Leadership Rhode Island. In favor of the stadium were Syd McKenna, Listening Tour regular and Community Outreach Director for the team, as well as Patti Doyle, the team’s spokesperson. In opposition was Ethan Kent, Senior Vice President of Project for Public Spaces in New York, and Sharon Steele, Quality of Life Chair and Past President of the Jewelry District Association. The overwhelming majority of the room was in opposition and remained unconvinced by the end of the evening.
One of the more unique moments toward the end when, referring to issues related to the intersection between patrons of the night clubs downtown and residents of the Jewelry District, Syd McKenna tried to make it into a class-ethnicity issue. She tried to rebuke Steele and say that the PawSox would be welcoming for all Rhode Islanders, whereas the opposition was elitist and didn’t welcome certain segments of the population. As we have seen earlier, the reality is that stadium construction causes massive public debts and, as is the case with Rhode Island, these shortcomings would probably be taken out on the poor.