The opening of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, new home of the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League), will be delayed four to six weeks because of construction issues and financial challenges, according to developer Centerplan Cos.
It was a day of bad news for Hartford city officials, as Centerplan informed that the scheduled April 7 opening was blown out of the water. Last week Centerplan informed the city the ballpark was running at least $10.3 million over budget, and that topic was addressed today as well. But there is no current plan to address either the delay or the cost overruns: with New Britain Stadium now leased to a new independent Atlantic League team (Patrick Day and crew have keys to the facility as of Jan. 1), returning to the team’s former home isn’t an option, so the obvious solution is for the Yard Goats to play the first six weeks of the season on the road, a la Biloxi in 2015.
The challenge will be finding the money to complete the ballpark. Centerplan says the cost increases are due to city management of the project and changes directed by the city and is demanding additional city funds cover the costs. The Hartford Stadium Authority, which is managing the construction, says the $56-million budget is fixed and the city’s contribution is capped. From the Hartford Courant:
Centerplan told the authority that while savings can be found, there is not enough money to complete the work necessary to finish the stadium. The authority said that the city has no more than the $56 million approved for construction of the ballpark, located just north of downtown Hartford.
Eastern League President Joseph McEacharn told the group that it was unacceptable that the ballpark would not be completed by opening day. He said that opening day cannot be delayed.
He said the league has alternate plans in place and will make decisions within 10 days.
The webcam photo accompanying this article was taken on December 21, 2015.
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