Kind Gesture Marks the End of an Era for Rhode Island’s McCoy Stadium
The people of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, paid a final farewell to their beloved McCoy Stadium over Labor Day Weekend with a bit of a festival capped by fireworks. Some folks even got free ice cream and treats.
Since 1942, McCoy Stadium, named for former Pawtucket Mayor Thomas P. McCoy, has stood on a once swampy piece of land known as Hammond's Pond at the end of Pond Street.
From 1970 until 2020, McCoy Stadium was the home field to the Pawtucket Red Sox (PawSox), a Minor League Baseball Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox moved the PawSox to Worcester, Massachusetts, in April 2021, renaming the team the Worcester Red Sox (WooSox). That was the end for McCoy Stadium.
Billionaire Stefan Soloviev is attempting to save McCoy and attract another minor league ball team to the city. The odds are long since the City of Pawtucket has already bonded to demolish the stadium and use the property for a new high school.
For years, the PawSox organization and the City of Pawtucket combined forces to present fireworks for the community for the Fourth of July. Fans could watch the fireworks from the field after the game.
What was to be the final fireworks display in 2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stadium closed with little fanfare.
Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien wanted PawSox fans and residents to have one last hurrah, a final farewell to their beloved McCoy Stadium, so he scheduled fireworks for July 4, 2023.
Grebien rescheduled the fireworks, and it rained again.
Proving the third time is the charm, the fireworks lit the night sky over McCoy Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023.
A nearby business, Absorbent Specialty Products, headquartered in Cumberland, Rhode Island, opened the parking lot at its Pawtucket facility for folks to gather to watch the fireworks.
The company distributed large cardboard boxes for trash disposal throughout the parking lot and hired Palagis Ice Cream and Frozen Lemonade to provide free treats to all comers.
Facilities Administrator Craig Watkins, who watched the fireworks from the roof of the building, told me the company wanted to give back to a community that will no longer have the annual event to look forward to.
"It's the least we could do," Watkins said.
When it was over, the fireworks-watching party at Absorbent Specialty Products, which attracted several-hundred people, ended without incident. Participants collected trash, deposited it in the cardboard boxes and left quietly.
What a kind gesture to mark the end of an era for the folks of Pawtucket.
Here are more pictures from the fireworks-watching party at Absorbent Specialty Products: