Pawtucket’s arts community driving discussions to incorporate the arts into the venue
Today, Mayor Donald R. Grebien announced another development opportunity at the Ballpark at Slater Mill, the Pawtucket Performing Arts Center. The Mayor and members of the Pawtucket arts community continue to have ongoing discussions regarding the incorporation of a theatre, gallery or performing arts space with the Pawtucket Red Sox. The PawSox intend for the new downtown ballpark at Slater Mill to be a public “Park at the Park” for citizens to use year-round, that includes events, entertainment, restaurants and hotels. The presence of both the visual and performing arts calling this building “home” insures another important constituency is served by this investment.
“The Ballpark at Slater Mill continues to draw interest from a variety of businesses and developers, despite the project’s uncertainty at the state level. The ballpark will be a true destination serving as the centerpiece for all types of activities,” said Mayor Grebien. “Pawtucket’s art community is a hallmark of our culture. This is yet another opportunity that Pawtucket can maximize upon.”
Morris Nathanson, designer of Pawtucket’s Riverfront Lofts, is working with Janet Marie Smith, a nationally renowned baseball planning and development executive and advisor to the PawSox team, to conceptualize how the arts can be a part of the new ballpark. Howard Abramson, a Pawtucket resident and former media executive, is also working with the City and the team to make the incorporation of a performing arts center at the Ballpark at Slater Mill a reality. He is bringing the various stakeholders together to create a comprehensive proposal for a first-rate venue for the many performing arts groups in the area to share.
“The arts have proven to be an important economic engine in the growth of downtowns all over America,” said Smith. “In Pawtucket, artists have been on the cutting edge of business entrepreneurism and have formed a nucleus of growth that takes advantage of the unique location and transit opportunities. Many of these artists are selling their services to nationally known companies seeking technological creativity. Showcasing them at the Ballpark at Slater Mill would give visibility to this movement.”
“Pawtucket and surrounding towns are blessed with a multitude of active, innovative and entertaining performing arts groups, virtually all of which struggle to find and maintain proper venues," Abramson said. “With a collaboration between the City and the PawSox, we could create a shared home that would benefit all of these groups and their audiences, namely all of us. The Pawtucket Performing Arts Center at the Ballpark at Slater Mill would be able to take advantage of all the infrastructure that will be created as part of the stadium. The PawSox have already expressed interest in pursuing the creation of this arts center.”
Additional interest in the park continues to grow. The City, CommerceRI and the PawSox recently announced a technology-innovation festival, scheduled for May 10th at McCoy, that will showcase businesses from around the state and New England, as well as draw entrepreneurs and graduates to Pawtucket. The tech-fest would look to expand its capacity at the new downtown venue.
The City has also received formal letters of interest from Churchill and Banks to explore residential development on the Tidewater riverfront property across from the Ballpark at Slater Mill, as well as Jamsan Hotel Management to open another hotel on or near the ballpark property. Jamsan currently own a number of hotels throughout New England area, as well as the recently opened and fully renovated 135 room Hampton Inn in Pawtucket.
The Ballpark at Slater Mill is an economic development opportunity for Pawtucket, the Blackstone Valley and Rhode Island to bring year-round entertainment and events, expand access to our waterfront and create a world-class destination to attract 500,000 visitors and patrons from around the country to our state. With that activity is the ability to draw hotels, restaurants, businesses, shops and residential development.
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- Mayor Donald R. Grebien
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