Developers, Yard Goats, city to split stadium cost overruns

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HARTFORD -- Mayor Luke Bronin announced that the responsibility to cover the additional costs of the delayed stadium will be split between the Hartford Yard Goats minor league baseball team, developers and taxpayers.

Bronin said Wednesday that the Yard Goats will cover $2 million extra, the developers, DoNo Hartford and Centerplan Companies, will contribute $2.3 million additional and incur increased payments of approximately $225,000 per year in additional taxes. City taxpayers will shell out $5.5 million.

"The developer will be paying $225,000 per year for many many years to come. That will support, we believe, at least $2 million of the $5.5 million," said Bronin, defending the taxpayer portion. "To put it another way, the taxpayers of the city of Hartford are going to bearing the burden of about one third of the total 10.3 [million dollar] expense."

"I don't ask anyone to be happy about putting more money in," Bronin added. "We're trying to get the best result out of a difficult situation.

A parking structure will not be built, and will also shave $500,000 off the cost.

Bronin also discussed a construction timeline. He said he expects the stadium to be completed on May 17 with an an opening on May 31. The deal includes specific milestones for builders. If the completion date is not met, the city reserves the right to contest the contract, Bronin said.

Minor League Baseball's Eastern League has yet to finalize the Yard Goats schedule.

Yard Goats owner Josh Solomon, who agreed to pay $2 million, said he doesn't anticipate any other major concessions. "There will be no deviation from the approved plans that was part of the agreement and that's critical, we wouldn't have been at the table otherwise."

Solomon points his finger at developers for the costly debacle.

"The mayor asked that the team make a significant financial contribution towards solving the developer's budget and scheduling problems. We felt it was important for us to help the city however we could," he said.

The developers, Centerplan and DoNo Hartford, said in a statement, "Centerplan applauds the leadership of Mayor Luke Bronin for taking swift action to convene key stakeholders, and for devoting the necessary attention that assures the interests of taxpayers are met, protects the success of the Stadium, and sets a path for the progress of future projects."

Earlier, developers had said design changes required by the city were responsible for the delay.

Bronin didn't want to play the blame game at Wednesday's news conference.

"I'm not really interested in pointing fingers. I'm not interested in looking back. I'm interested in moving forward," the Mayor said.

Because the stadium's opening day has been delayed, the Yard Goats have scheduled the first games to be on the road  after it was announced that Dunkin’ Donuts Park would not open by the originally-planned April 7 date.

The Yard Goats will still play a full 142 games this season.

Bronin will hold a town hall at 5 p.m., Monday, January 25, at the Hartford Public Library downtown, at 500 Main Street in the atrium to discuss the agreement.