Hartford Wary of Team Proposal to Finish Stadium

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The offer from the owner of the Hartford Yard Goats to provide a loan to the city in order to complete Dunkin’ Donuts Park has been met with skepticism from city leaders.

One source inside City Hall described the proposal as “unrealistic” and that it would only add to the city’s fiscal woes.

The proposal would see Josh Solomon, the owner of the team, providing the city the needed funds to ensure that the ballpark would be read for baseball by Opening Day 2017, scheduled for April 13.

The amount isn’t specified in the proposal because architects haven’t established the needed repairs and therefore don’t have a proposed sum.

There are several key conditions to the loan which is what has Hartford city leaders worried about the prospect of such an agreement.

The city would pay a new contractor the remaining $4 million or so that is left in the city account for the ballpark, and then the team would provide a loan to Hartford.

In return for the loan, the Yard Goats would not pay rent for the city-owned stadium, the team wouldn’t provide the city its share for the stadium’s naming rights, and the team would collect revenue from a pair of parking lots that provide spaces for ticket holders, all until the loan was paid back with interest.

"I think that whatever that loan looks like that it really has to be interests of the City of Hartford,” said TJ Clarke, President of the Hartford City Council.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin has said he would rather the insurance company for the fired developer take responsibility for completion of the stadium, instead of entering into a new financial arrangement with the Yard Goats’ owner that would cost taxpayers more money.

Clarke said Opening Day next year now looms as a deadline for a finished stadium.

"The city does not have a plan B at the moment. You know, there are talks that they're still waiting to find out what Arch, (the insurance company) is going to do and the decision they are going to render and so until such a time we are still in the hands of the surety bond."

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