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Hartford overhauls ballpark financing plan

New Hartford ballpark

Despite planning being at the final stages, the city of Hartford will overhaul its ballpark financing plan and launch an authority to finance and own the new home of the New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League).

Under the previous plan, Hartford was going to borrow the construction money and then lease the ballpark from developer DoNo Hartford LLC, eventually buying it. Under the new plan, the city will borrow the construction money, set up a ballpark authority to own it and then pay DoNo Hartford LLC to build it. The authority will retain ownership of the ballpark while lowering the amount of money paid to DoNo Hartford LLC — which also reduces the amount needed upfront.

Under both plans, the Rock Cats would sublease the ballpark.

The ballpark is budgeted at $56 million, and this move doesn’t affect that construction budget: it only affects the amount the city needs to borrow. From the Hartford Courant:

“I think we’ve always been working in the spirit of what’s best for the city,” Segarra said Friday. The proposal is meant to “take advantage of the best possible economic circumstances,” he added.

The authority’s board, appointed by the council, would be composed of 5 to 7 members — including city officials and members of the public.

A special council meeting has been called for Monday at 4 p.m. to consider the proposal. A public hearing on the plan will be held on Jan. 20 and a vote could be taken by the end of the month, council President Shawn Wooden said.

Meanwhile, Hartford officials say they are close to a new lease with the Rock Cats. A groundbreaking for the new facility is expected next month.

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