Grebien calls on state and Hasbro to work together to keep company in Pawtucket

PAWTUCKET MAYOR Donald R. Grebien, along with local officials, issued a call to action Wednesday for the state, Pawtucket, Central Falls and Hasbro to come together to find an economic package and agreement that would keep the toy company located in Pawtucket. / PBN PHOTO/CHRIS BERGENHEIM
PAWTUCKET MAYOR Donald R. Grebien, along with local officials, issued a call to action Wednesday for the state, Pawtucket, Central Falls and Hasbro to come together to find an economic package and agreement that would keep the toy company located in Pawtucket. / PBN PHOTO/CHRIS BERGENHEIM

PAWTUCKET – In a call to action, Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien Wednesday issued a plea to the Governor’s Office, R.I. Commerce Corp. and Hasbro Inc. to work with the cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls to keep Hasbro headquartered in Pawtucket.

Hasbro has said publicly that it is evaluating options to contemporize its headquarters and is considering options in the vicinity of Pawtucket.

Grebien said the timing of the call to action was to avoid impacting the election and was spurred by seeing reports of layoffs at Hasbro. The company recently noted that it planned to fire less than 10 percent of its workforce but declined to provide a specific figure.

Grebien said the public gesture was intended to accelerate conversations between the public bodies and the public company.

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Grebien said that while Hasbro has not asked the city for money or incentives, he’d like to be proactive rather than reactive to a potential problem that could cost the city more than 1,000 employees. He said he doesn’t have a clear picture of what would be required to keep the company in the city and that more conversations are needed.

He called on Commerce RI and Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, as well as the General Assembly to work to create an economic package designed to help Hasbro, as well as other businesses in the Blackstone Valley.

Grebien specifically said he would like to see the implementation of tax-increment financing, mirroring an economic package designed for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Grebien said that while the loss of the PawSox was a loss for the city, the loss of Hasbro would have a far greater impact on the city and region.

The mayor also said that due to the nature of a private business, going so far as to call Hasbro “close to the chest,” he understood that operating a business requires a company to act in its best interest and that companies are often pulled in many directions.

Grebien also said he had spoken to a representative from Hasbro and plans to meet with the company and state officials in the coming days or weeks.

“Gov. Raimondo has been a tireless advocate for the Blackstone Valley. In just the past month, she’s announced $300,000 for infrastructure improvements along the Dexter Street corridor, supported the creation of 75 new, local jobs at Collette and broken ground on the Pawtucket-Central Falls Train Station,” said Raimondo’s office in a statement following Grebien’s press conference. “The governor looks forward to continuing to partner with Mayor Grebien to revitalize his city. Hasbro has been a Rhode Island staple for almost 100 years. Gov. Raimondo is committed to working with Hasbro to ensure the company continues to grow and thrive in our state.”

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.