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Stadium developer says April 7 Opening Day for Yard Goats not going to happen

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HARTFORD--It's unlikely that the originally planned April 7 opening day for Dunkin' Donuts Park will happen.

DoNo Hartford LLC, the developers of the stadium, joined city leaders and officials from the Hartford Stadium Authority at a formal meeting on Tuesday to discuss delays and overruns in the budget for the project.

DoNo officials said at the meeting that it would take an additional 4 to 6 weeks to complete the Yard Goats' stadium, and that if they are given that additional time it would save about $1.2-$1.7 million. They said they would also be willing to reduce their fees to save another $1.7 million.

Developers said the city retained design control over the project, and these problems are a result of that.

"The control of design was clearly relinquished and the city made decisions about the design, which have caused an over-budget situation that we're trying to rectify," said Robert Landino, CEO of Centerplan Construction Company, which is in a construction agreement with DoNo.

As FOX 61 reported, DoNo told the city recently that the project was about $10 million over the $56 million budget. However, Mayor Luke Bronin and the Stadium Authority officials say that the city will not be putting any more money into the project beyond the budgeted amount.

Members of the Hartford Stadium Authority disputed the developer's claims about design control and questioned why these issues weren't brought up sooner.

"What I do know is that the city never received any warning. The first time we heard it was problem was December 10 after 8-9 meetings of saying, 'We`re on track, we`re on budget,'" said I. Charles Mathews, Chairman of the Hartford Stadium Authority.

Despite the cost and schedule issues, Eastern League President Joseph McEacharn said that the show must go on as planned, and opening day can't be pushed off. He said delaying the opening would have ramifications for all of the teams in the Eastern League.

Bronin was at the table for the meeting, just a few days into his tenure as Hartford's 67th mayor. In the past he has been vocal about his disapproval of the stadium, but now that it's happening he says that the city must "embrace it with all of our hearts and make sure it succeeds."

Bronin said, "We need to move to a resolution and a decision very, very quickly."

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