Worcester official lays out plan to pay for additional Polar Park costs at city council meeting

If you plan on going to a Worcester Red Sox game, plan on paying a little more.

WORCESTER, Mass. — If you plan on going to a Worcester Red Sox game, plan on paying a little more. New numbers coming into the Worcester City Council Tuesday night are giving residents a slight pause.

We are still 15 months away from Opening night in April 2021. But when you come to that game, you’ll pay about $5 more between parking and a stadium facility fee. It may not be much, but residents at Tuesday’s council meeting fear the price increases could continue.

Come to Kelly Square and you’ll see residents can’t wait for construction to finish at the Worcester Red Sox stadium.

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“I cannot wait. I cannot wait,” said Heather Hawkes of Worcester. “That was one of the biggest attractions in moving here, when they told me about the stadium, I was like, ‘okay, sold.’”

But now residents are learning that finish line will cost a little more than expected due to a rise in construction costs in and around Polar Park. The City Council heard a proposal Tuesday night for how to pay for an additional $30 million cost for the ballpark and surrounding area.

“The team is going to pay $9.4 million of that,” said Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. “The city is going to pay the balance of that primarily through the additional development and some additional parking revenues.”

There is no existing city tax revenue that will be used to pay for this, but some residents fear the extra parking and facility fees are just the beginning.

“It could be more considering the tariffs for steel and other things,” said Nicole Apostola of Worcester. “Presumably construction cost could go up even more so we could potential he be on the hook for more. We don’t know.”

“I cannot predict,” Augustus said when asked if there would be more fees in the next 15 months. “Surely we are not expecting that, we are doing everything we can to control the thoughts costs going forward. But like any product we will have to deal with whatever comes down the pipe.”

“I think it’s pretty cool if you ask me,” Hawkes said of the Worcester Red Sox in spite of the potential fees. “This is a city that has been dying to thrive for decades.”

This issue has been referred to a committee meeting at a date not yet set, and the public will be allowed to voice their opinion before an official vote.