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Solomon: “Awful, depressing, disconcerting” ballpark situation

Dunkin' Donuts Park

Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) owner Josh Solomon is speaking out about the delays in the opening of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, calling it an “awful, depressing, disconcerting” situation.

To say that the Yard Goats ownership and management are deep in uncharted waters is an understatement, as so much of what happens with the new ballpark in coming months is beyond their control. We do know the ballpark won’t open on April 7, but we don’t know exactly when it will happen. We do know the construction cost is at least $10.3 million over budget, but we don’t know exactly who will pay for it: the developer says the city botched the situation, but the city says the ballpark has a fixed budget cost of $56 million and that the developer is responsible for all overages.

In the middle: Solomon. From the Hartford Courant:

“I see incompetence,” Solomon said. “I see dishonesty. I see a lack of credibility.

“I’m not sitting in the city’s chair, I cannot say they should have handled DoNo differently, how they did or didn’t address it. But I, like them, heard the developer say, ‘I’m going to deliver this project on time and on budget,’ for well over a year. I was there at the meetings.

“They have been running this project all along [Centerplan was selected in September 2014]. They were quarterbacking all of it. Obviously, I’m a tenant and the city is my landlord. But I cannot fairly point the finger of blame at the city.”

The biggest issue is how the team plays the 2016 season. If there’s a six-week or even two-month delay, then the Yard Goats could easily play as a road team a la the Biloxi Shuckers last season. If we’re talking longer, then something more drastic may be needed. It’s not really a matter of team performance, but rather finances: despite a $500,000 penalty for a late opening of the ballpark, the team will miss a lot more revenue than that every week the ballpark opening is delayed.

The webcam photo accompanying this article was taken on December 21, 2015.

RELATED STORIES: New Hartford ballpark opening delayed at least a month; New Hartford ballpark cost estimate: $10.3 million over budget; City: New Hartford ballpark may open late; Value engineering underway in Hartford; Hartford Yard Goats unveil logos, colors; A branding exercise: Hartford Yard Goats; New for 2016: Dunkin’ Donuts Park; After Rock Cats, what becomes of New Britain Stadium?; New for 2016: Hartford Yard Goats; Hartford ballpark construction begins; Hartford ballpark groundbreaking set for February; Hartford overhauls ballpark financing plan; Hartford approves Rock Cats ballpark project

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