HARTFORD - Key officials met Wednesday to determine the next steps for opening Dunkin' Donuts Park, but baseball won't be played there until July, according to I. Charles Mathews, the Stadium Authority chairman.
Mayor Luke Bronin, the owner of the Hartford Yard Goats and the developers of the park spoke about how to move forward with the remaining construction of the stadium after the developers missed the deadline for "substantial completion" by May 17. The plan was for the team to have its home-opener at the ballpark on May 31.
Because the deadline was missed, the developer, DoNo Hartford, is now expected to pay a $50,000 penalty to the city, as well as $15,000 for each additional day that the park is not ready.
Josh Solomon, the owner of the Yard Goats, also now has the option to pull out his offer for the stadium, per the terms of his agreement with the city, as a way to cover the $2 million in construction overruns. He says everyday he's losing money.
"I want to know when the ballpark is going to be done, and i want to know when we're going to be able to play here," he told FOX 61.
Solomon also released a statement following the news of the delay until July:
We’re extremely disappointed the deadline for substantial completion has been missed, again.
We encourage Mayor Bronin and the Stadium Authority to do everything in their power to get the stadium completed so that the team can come home to Hartford and play ball at Dunkin’ Donuts Park this summer.
The Yard Goats remain committed to our fans and sponsors, to bringing professional baseball back to Hartford with the best park in minor league baseball.
DoNo project manager, Jason Rudnick, said delays happened in part because changes were made to certain already completed construction.
"There's a stadium here. There's items that have to be finished. We're at a point that we're 95-97 percent," Rudnick said. "You gotta finish the rest of it."
Back in January, about a week after it was announced that Dunkin’ Donuts Park would not open by the originally-planned April 7 date, it was announced that the Yard Goats would start the 2016 season on the road.
Revised contracts called for a May 17 completion date, setting up the first real home game for May 31. The developer insisted the stadium would be completed by May 17 and ready for the city per the terms of the contract, but that obviously didn't happen.
Earlier this month, a representative for the team's owners said he had grave concerns about elevators, food service, stairs, and 50 non-compliant issues.
On Thursday, May 12, the team played the first of nine planned "home" games at Dodd Stadium in Norwich. The problem now is that the Connecticut Tigers' season starts in June, so the Yard Goats may not be able to continue to play there at that point.