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Worcester City Council Reviews Plan for PawSox

Members of Worcester City Council got their first look Tuesday at the plan to bring the Pawtucket Red Sox to the city.

One called it a game changer for Massachusetts' second largest city.

Another said the project needs to be vetted to make sure the numbers add up, leery of past promises that failed to deliver.

Overall, the general consensus seemed to be one of support for the deal.

"I don't think anyone on this council is a rubber stamp," said City Councilwoman Sarai Rivera. "I think it's going to be really important for us to look at every part of this."

The city plans to borrow $100 million to build a new stadium for the Triple-A team.

Tax revenue from the ballpark and the surrounding development of new apartments, hotels, restaurants and retail shops would cover the loan down the road.

"It's not going to cost existing taxpayers any money," said City Councilman George Russell. "It's going to bring thousands of jobs, construction jobs, long-term jobs to the city."

But not everyone is sold on the numbers.

"It's the classic 'It will pay for itself,' right? That's what the argument has been,” said Worcester resident Tracy Novick, who opposes the plan. "It would be nice to think that."

Public hearings will take place over the next several weeks to gather input.

Many long-time residents say the development will be a much-needed economic boost to a growing section of the city.

"Worcester is resurgent and this is, I think, part of that resurgence," said well-known attorney Mike Angelini. "People are feeling good, and when people feel good, they do good."

City Council members are expected to vote on the project by the end of September.

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