Lawmakers to Gov.: Keep Hasbro here
PAWTUCKET – A coalition of 14 lawmakers from Pawtucket, Central Falls, and East Providence signed their name to a letter addressed to Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, imploring the governor to do “everything possible” to keep Hasbro in Pawtucket, where they say the toy company will be able to grow and thrive in a redeveloping city.
The legislators’ letter called on the governor, her administration, and Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to retain Hasbro, noting that it would be a “devastating loss” to the Blackstone Valley if the company decides to relocate.
“Hasbro is one of Rhode Island’s greatest companies, and we want to work together with you and your administration to do everything in our power to keep them in Pawtucket where they have been headquartered and have thrived for more than 80 years,” the one-page letter reads. “We want Hasbro here in Pawtucket. Our communities need this great corporate citizen, along with the as- sociated jobs and economic activity, in order to grow our Northern Rhode Island economy.”
“Put simply, it would be a devastating loss to Pawtucket, Central Falls, East Providence, and the greater Blackstone Valley if Hasbro decides to relocate. With more than 1,500 associated jobs and $60 million in earnings, we simply cannot afford to lose Hasbro as an economic pillar of our cities, and our region’s economy,” the letter states. “Such a loss would further lower the per capita income in our communities and reduce opportunities for our residents.”
The letter is signed by Pawtucket representatives District 58 State Rep. Carlos E. Tobon, District 59 State Rep. Jean Philippe Barros, District 60 State Rep. Karen Alzate, District 61 State Rep. Raymond H. Johnston Jr., and District 62 State Rep. Mary Duffy Messier; Pawtucket Senators District 8 State Sen. Sandra Cano, District 15 State Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush, District 16 State Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley, and
District 18 State Sen. William J. Conley Jr.
Contributors from East Providence include District 63 State Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian, District 64 State Rep. Joe R. Serodio, and District 65 State Rep. Gregg Amore, while District 56 State Rep. Shelby Maldonado and District 57 State Rep. James McLaughlin represent Central Falls.
The 14 lawmakers committed to continuing to work
hand-in-hand with Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien and the leadership in the House and Senate on a “visionary development and incentive package” that would allow Hasbro to remain headquartered in Pawtucket and serve as a catalyst for Pawtucket’s revitalization.
The letter-writers also asked that the Raimondo administration keep Grebien and the city’s elected leaders “in the loop” as the matter evolves, saying that failure to do so is “simply unacceptable.”
that the state is waiting for Pawtucket’s plan places us at odds when, in reality, we need to work together, as these issues and our collective approach to them is ‘part and parcel’ to the state’s economic development strategy, which, as we all know, is controlled by your Commerce team,” the letter to the governor says. “We have supported the creation of and continued funding for the economic development tools at your disposal, and those tools should be used to keep Hasbro in Pawtucket and to grow our state’s entire economy, not
simply move our important businesses to Providence.”
If Hasbro were to relocate out of Pawtucket, it would be nothing short of devastating for Pawtucket and its neighboring cities of Central Falls and East Providence. According to an impact study conducted by a New Yorkbased economic development consulting firm, Hasbro’s departure from Pawtucket could come at a cost of 1,513 jobs and $60.24 million in earnings.
In Pawtucket alone, losing Hasbro to a consolidated facility that incorporates all of
its Rhode Island operations in a single location would lead to 1,074 total jobs lost and $41.04 million lost in earnings, according to the study by Camoin Associates, which modeled the economic impact of a scenario in which Hasbro consolidates its operations in Providence.
Pawtucket’s Director of Administration Dylan M. Zelazo on Friday said that Grebien has had communications with Raimondo, Hasbro representatives, and members of both the House and Senate.
“Obviously it’s a matter of critical importance for the city. They’re our largest employer and taxpayer, they have a lot of value for the city from an identity perspective and history perspective, and we want to make sure they have a bright future here in Pawtucket,” Zelazo said. “The letter reflects (the legislators’) concern as well as their hope that the state, which has the economic development tools to make a project happen here in Pawtucket, will do all it can to make something happen here.”
Zelazo emphasized that Hasbro officials have “repeatedly communicated that Pawtucket is very much still in
the running” for the company’s long-term home, saying the toy giant is trying to find a location that fits both their space and information technology infrastructure needs. To that end, Zelazo said, the city is “committed to doing anything we can to make that happen in Pawtucket.”
“When they are ready to sit down, Pawtucket will very much be given the opportunity to make its case...” he said. “The city stands ready to do that. We have a lot of resources we’re willing to bring to bear to make sure we can put together a competitive package. We’ve got some great opportunity in our downtown, (in proximity) to the new train station. The area around the new station, we think, has a number of locations if they can’t retrofit the current facility to meet their needs. We believe we’ve got the ability to meet their needs elsewhere in the city.”
“We are prepared to have that conversation...” Zelazo added. “This is a priority and Pawtucket stands as a very committed and willing partner for Hasbro’s future.”
Jonathan Bissonnette on Twitter: @J_Bissonnette