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July 17, 2018

Officials say moving the PawSox out of Pawtucket will be a blow to their city's economy

Local officials in Pawtucket, Rhode Island say moving the Pawtucket Red Sox to the state’s capital will devastate the smaller city’s economy.

Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and a group of Rhode Island businessmen announced Monday they had purchased the Triple-A baseball club for an undisclosed amount from the widow of its longtime owner and are planning to move the team to Providence. They are eyeing a piece of land along the Providence River for a new ballpark.

Blackstone Valley Tourism Council president Robert Billington says the new owners should reinvest in Pawtucket. The city was an industrial center before the Great Depression.

Billington says moving the team will be a “severe blow” to the city’s economy. He says the team attracts 750,000 visitors a year.

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Officials say moving the PawSox out of Pawtucket will be a blow to their city's economy

Officials say moving the PawSox out of Pawtucket will be a blow to their city's economy

Local officials in Pawtucket, Rhode Island say moving the Pawtucket Red Sox to the state’s capital will devastate the smaller city’s economy.

Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and a group of Rhode Island businessmen announced Monday they had purchased the Triple-A baseball club for an undisclosed amount from the widow of its longtime owner and are planning to move the team to Providence. They are eyeing a piece of land along the Providence River for a new ballpark.

Blackstone Valley Tourism Council president Robert Billington says the new owners should reinvest in Pawtucket. The city was an industrial center before the Great Depression.

Billington says moving the team will be a “severe blow” to the city’s economy. He says the team attracts 750,000 visitors a year.

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Officials say moving the PawSox out of Pawtucket will be a blow to their city's economy

Loss of PawSox will devastate city, officials say – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

By AMY ANTHONY

Associated Press

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) – For 40 years, Pawtucket resident Mike Shloul has lived within walking distance of McCoy Stadium, where the PawSox have played home games since 1973.

“I felt like somebody died,” Shloul said of hearing the news that the Pawtucket Red Sox are leaving and might be headed to the neighboring capital city of Providence. The team, he said, is “part of the culture in Pawtucket.”

The expected departure of the Triple-A baseball club takes away one of few bright spots from an old mill town that has never fully recovered from the Great Depression, officials in the Rhode Island city said Tuesday.

“To take the economic activity out of the city’s income stream is a severe blow,” said Robert Billington, a local tourism official who said he was shocked to learn the team’s new owners want to leave.

Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and a group of Rhode Island businessmen announced Monday they had purchased the franchise for an undisclosed amount from the widow of its longtime owner and are planning to move the team. Investor James Skeffington confirmed the new owners are eyeing a piece of land along the Providence River for a new ballpark but said nothing is final.

The new owners said making improvements to McCoy Stadium would be too expensive. The stadium was built in 1942 and renovated in the late 90s.

But Billington, president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, said he thinks McCoy Stadium could be maintained the way Fenway Park in Boston has been.

“If they can make it in Fenway, I think they can make it here,” he said. “I think there’s a desire not to.”

Billington said he had hoped the new owners would want to reinvest in Pawtucket. The city was a major manufacturer during the American Industrial Revolution, but has struggled to improve its economy since the 1930s. It’s now one of the poorest cities in the state, with a median household income of $40,379.

The team brought fame and fun to the city, he said, along with about 750,000 visitors a year.

“There are a lot of businesses that are supported by the PawSox,” Billington said.

That includes the Right Spot Diner, which overlooks the stadium. Owner Julia Tsimikas said Tuesday she is worried about how losing the team will affect the business she and her family opened in 1975.

“It’s going to be a loss for the whole city,” Tsimikas said.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebian said there is both an economic and psychological impact to the departure of the team. He said he tried to keep the team in Pawtucket but the city wasn’t “on the radar” of the new owners.

The new owners said if they built a ballpark in Providence they would use their own funds but would ask the city and the state for support.

Billington said any state help should focus on keeping the team in Pawtucket.

“We’re not fighting against anyone,” Billington said. “It’s for Pawtucket. Let’s figure out how to do it here.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Loss of PawSox will devastate city, officials say – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

Officials convene in Pawtucket to discuss R.I.’s first national historical park

PAWTUCKET — A month after President Obama signed legislation establishing Rhode Island’s first national historical park, officials held the first meeting on Monday to work out the boundaries of the park along the Blackstone River and develop a management plan.

The meeting was held in downtown Pawtucket, a stone’s throw from Old Slater Mill, which is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America and will be a key piece of the Blackstone River National Historical Park. The park will also include the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, as well as three more Rhode Island sites and three sites in Massachusetts.

Officials from both states, as well city and town leaders and representatives of community groups, were at the meeting to start laying the groundwork for the national park, the 402nd in the United States.

“We want to make sure everyone has a voice — the mayors, the planners for all the communities,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, the Rhode Island Democrat who wrote the act that created the new park.

He said the park will be an important cultural resource — and a tourist attraction.

“We can use the park to educate visitors about the history and culture of Rhode Island,” he said. “It’s another reason to come to Rhode Island.”

The park is located within the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which runs from Worcester to Providence and was established in 1986. The idea for the park was hatched in 2003 as part of an effort to better protect the cultural sites along the river, said Bob Billington, director of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

“The history was always here, but we always wanted the opportunity to tell it on a national level,” he said.

Those many years of work on the proposal for the park have given stakeholders a head-start in the current effort to set it up, said U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.

“Our park will begin with this very deep and very rich history of relationships,” he said.

Meghan Kish, the National Park Service superintendent who will oversee the park, said the priorities in the planning process include delineating the park’s boundaries and formulating an overall identity for its separate pieces that include sites in Slatersville and Ashton in Rhode Island and Whitinsville and Hopedale in Massachusetts.

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Officials convene in Pawtucket to discuss R.I.’s first national historical park

Cicilline invites president of Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, as State of Union guest

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline has invited Robert Billington, president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, to be his guest for President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

“After advocating for decades to establish a national park in Rhode Island, Bob’s hard work paid off when Congress approved a bill last month to establish a national park in the Blackstone River Valley,” Cicilline said in a news release. “Without Bob and the many dedicated and passionate individuals and organizations he represents, there is no doubt in my mind that we would not have been able to create a new national park in Rhode Island. ”

Billington said he was grateful for the opportunity “to represent  the hundreds of people of the Blackstone Valley that worked so hard over the years to make the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park a reality.

President Obama signed legislation in to law on Dec. 19 to establish the park.

Cicilline is the last of the all-Democratic, four-member Rhode Island Congressional delegation to announce his State of the Union Guest.

Sen. Jack Reed’s guest will be Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse invited former lieutenant governor Elizabeth Roberts, now secretary of the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

U.S. Rep. James Langevin’s guest will be Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

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Cicilline invites president of Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, as State of Union guest

Gas, coal fuel city’s progress

BLACKSTONE BOYS: Workmen hew coal from the Bogside Pit, Cooneana Estate, in earlier days.
BLACKSTONE BOYS: Workmen hew coal from the Bogside Pit, Cooneana Estate, in earlier days. CONTRIBUTED

THE people of Ipswich in the 1870s had every reason to be proud of the progress being made in their town.

There was the establishment of the woollen and gas companies, a fire brigade and the construction of the waterworks on the banks of the Brisbane River.

It was in the early stages of the discussion re the erection of the Queensland Woollen Factory which led, during 1876, towards the formation of a company for the manufacture of gas in Ipswich.

At a meeting of interested people, one speaker stated: “The gas works would not only operate as a great boon to the inhabitants of Ipswich, but would be an investment of a most lucrative character to the share-holders.”

It was decided the capital needed to establish the gas works would be 8000 pounds, 7000 pounds of which would be sufficient for the purchase of machinery and 1000 would be enough for other incidentals.

The site for the new works was selected at North Ipswich (now part of Riverlink) as it was Crown land but, owing to some delay in the Lands Department, this two acres of land was not put forward until September 6, 1877. The Ipswich Gas Company, which had been registered as a limited liability company in November 1876, bought it.

William Highfields, engineer, drew up the plans for the new establishment and these were forwarded to England for the necessary machinery to be indented.

Englishman John Lewis became the first manager and secretary appointed, but he resigned soon after arriving here, so Henry Courtis from Melbourne was selected to superintend the laying down of the plant with Mr T Reece as contractor.

The first person to secure the credit of having a meter placed on his bakery business was Robert Tallon of The Terrace, North Ipswich. This was in June 1878.

To prepare for the lighting of Ipswich with gas, the Municipal Council decided that street lamps should be placed at Mellefonts, corner Nicholas and Bremer Sts; Givens Corner, cnr Brisbane and Nicholas Sts; The Queensland Times, cnr Brisbane and Ellenborough Sts, and McDonalds, cnr Brisbane and West Sts. At the Australian Joint Bank, cnr Bell and Brisbane Sts, and at the Bremer Bridge etc (prior to this there had been a few lamps which were lit with kerosene).

Ipswich was illuminated with gas on August 14, 1878, when the main part of town was lit for the first time.

Mining news

FEBRUARY 1883, the opening of a new pit at Bundamba to be worked as The Mount Pleasant Coal Company was made by Messrs W. Stafford, his three brothers, E. Sheppard and H. Price. These men had previously worked at Lewis Thomas’s mine at Blackstone. The new company leased 40 acres of land from James Payne and Mr Wright for this undertaking.

The Aberdare Collieries owned by Lewis Thomas in the 1880s employed 100 men and 200 tons of coal per day was raised.

Messrs Jones and Tapps’ Ross End and the Bremer River Coal company mines were at Redbank. Manager was Mr J. Hunter and these tunnels were about half a mile from, and to the west of the Redbank railway company. In opening up these old mines, many interesting relics of the crude workings of 60-odd years ago were discovered.

John Ferrett’s mine at Woodend was also re-opened and worked for a time between 1884 and 1887.

The Walloon Colliery in 1884 was worked by Aaron Noble.

The Bremer Basin Colliery with Mr R. D. Graham as manager, which came into existence in the 1880s, had a shaft sunk on the point of the Basin Pocket, opposite Tivoli.

The Ipswich Coal and Coke Company, under the management of Mr W. Harris, cut a block of coal weighing two tons and was 4’4″ in length, 3’6″ in breadth and 2’3″ in depth – which was forwarded to Melbourne for exhibition to show the capabilities of the Ipswich district as a coal producer in the 1880s.

In June 1889 a mass meeting of coal owners and miners took place in the Oddfellows Hall, Bundamba. The meeting was to consider the advisability of taking steps to deal with the bringing of New South Wales coal into Queensland.

Fernvale

TWENTY-one pieces of land forming part of the old Fernvale Timber Reserve were thrown open to settlement in August 1886.

Annual rental was fixed at two shillings and sixpence per acre and the purchasing price six pounds an acre. The farms varied in size from 40 to 45 acres.

These prices were considered too high and comparatively few people cared to rent or buy the farms.

Cricket

A SPORTS carnival promoted by the Alberts Cricket Club was held on the Ipswich Reserve in October 1911.

A procession consisting of the Blackstone Band and members of the cricket club in fancy dress marched through the city.

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Gas, coal fuel city’s progress