While it’s been widely reported that PawSox ownership’s dream of playing in a riverfront stadium on I-195 redevelopment lands in downtown Providence is dead, the Providence City Council may still get to drive the final – and conclusive – stake through its heart. The Stop the Stadium Deal group announced today in a press release that it will file with the city the necessary paperwork to compel the City Council to consider an anti-stadium ordinance.
“The intent of the filing is to compel the City Council to bring the stadium issue to a public referendum,” said the press release, “and allow the voters of Providence to determine its outcome.”
Sam Bell, president of the Stop the Stadium Deal group, said more than 1,500 signatures were collected. He said 1,000 are needed to compel the City Council to consider a specific ordinance.
“If the Council doesn’t pass the ordinance unamended by that point, we will be able to force it onto the ballot by gathering signatures from five percent of Providence voters,” Bell said. “However, given the strong public pressure, we are confident this won’t be necessary.”
The ordinance would forbid a “stadium” or “athletic facility” on the PawSox preferred parcel, and would mandate to all new stadiums to “pay property tax at the full commercial rate” and that “No public money from the City of Providence shall be used directly or indirectly to subsidize or otherwise provide any financial benefit to any new stadium.”
Said Bell, “For years, wealthy owners of professional sports teams throughout the country have been using public monies to increase the value of their private investments. The voters in Providence want the opportunity to express a resounding ‘NO’ to such an irresponsible use of public monies.”