NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 8, 2014

City OKs extended McCoy lease with Rhode Island

Eds: Changes headlines. Updates with detail of agreement, comment from PawSox president, city spokesman. Adds byline.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Pawtucket City Council has approved an agreement under which the Pawtucket Red Sox would remain at McCoy Stadium until 2021, and potentially beyond.

The council this week voted to extend Pawtucket's lease with Rhode Island for five years, with an option for another five-year extension, PawSox President Mike Tamburro said Friday. The team also must formalize a separate lease agreement with the state.

The team — the AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox — and the state are planning to fund a comprehensive study of the stadium to determine what improvements are needed there and a timeline for the work.

"This has been a great partnership between the city, the state and the ball club," Tamburro said. "I think we've all had the right intentions to try and take an old facility and get the absolute most we can out of it."

He added: "This ball club is synonymous with this city, and we want to extend the life expectancy of this facility for as long as we can."

The 10,000-seat stadium was built in 1942. McCoy's last major renovation and expansion, which cost $17 million, was completed ahead of the 1999 season, Tamburro said.

The team in 2012 won the International League championship for its first Governors' Cup since 1984. They went on to lose the AAA national championship that year.

The city council vote in favor of the lease extension was unanimous. Mayor Don Grebien called the PawSox an "invaluable partner."

"The contributions they make not only to our local economy, but to our community, through their commitment to civic engagement and partnership with the city are second to none," he said in a statement Friday.

Grebien said the city and the team are working on improvements around the stadium, including banners on Division Street that will be noticeable this spring.

"We are excited about this season, and many more to come," he said.

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