The Cost of Construction: Price Increases on Worcester Ballpark

As if the City of Worcester needed another reason to reject calls for union-only construction of the new ballpark and surrounding development: the price of the project just went up.


"The total public spending on all four Canal District projects directly related to the August 2018 announcement by the Pawtucket Red Sox to relocate to Worcester has increased to $189 million, as the Worcester City Council is about to approve another $32 million in borrowing, according to a WBJ review of city and state documents, " reported the Worcester Business Journal.


City leaders and the private developer have rejected calls for a PLA because of issues with increased costs and potential legal action.


MCA had been watching negotiations over a so-called Community Benefits Agreement. These CBAs have been used to sneak in PLA language in other parts of the country, but the Worcester CBA contained no such language. The portions that focused on construction simply restated existing city ordinances. Most of the CBA had the Woo Sox and the city agreeing Polar Park will consider having:


- Bike sharing

- A polling place at the park

- Benefits for indigenous people, immigrants, people of color and women.

- Ballpark tours and free tickets for every Worcester school student

- Sunrise walks inside the park concourse

- A Black History Month event

- Preference to Worcester residents in hiring

- Labor neutrality by the team

- Green tech and solar

- Reduced runoff

- Recycled furniture 

- Sensory limiting space

- Gender-neutral bathrooms


Back to the cost of the park, the WBJ offers this breakdown on public spending:

  • $99 million for the stadium, Polar Park

  • $29 million for property acquisition (higher than expected acquisition costs are largely responsible for the project's total increase)

  • $3.5 million in interest on 30-year bonds

  • $5 million in city operating expenses

  • $32.5 million from the state to build a parking garage

  • $16 million to remake Kelley Square

  • $3.5 million to turn a parking lot into a gateway to the Polar Park site

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