Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the new downtown ballpark for the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League), is on track for its scheduled May 31 opening, according to the latest update.
The Hartford Stadium Authority has obtained a progress report from construction, city, and development officials, all of whom felt that the stadium was on schedule. Over the next few weeks, several major pieces will be added to the facility, with perhaps the most crucial being the installation of structural steel for previously incomplete areas of the ballpark by March 9. Among the other projects that are expected to be completed this month include the arrival and installation of the scoreboard, and sod for the playing surface, while the exterior façade will be revealed soon.
All sides are working towards the goal of having the Yard Goats set up shop in the stadium on May 17 and begin preparing for the opener. As it is, the stakes are high. More from the Hartford Courant:
Kevin Greene, an executive vice president with International Facilities Group, which oversees construction for the city, told the authority Tuesday that in the past week the developer had elected to go to double shifts and working six- and seven-day weeks.
“If they continue on this path they will be successful,” Greene said. “More men and more productivity will get us to the finish line.
Under the new agreement, reached in January, if the May 17 date is not met, the city can replace Centerplan Cos., an affiliate of DoNo LLC, as the contractor and start collecting damages of $50,000 for the first day and $15,000 a day thereafter. It also can revive its claim that the developer breached its contract.
The construction of Dunkin’ Donuts Park has faced a series of obstacles thus far, including a $10.3 million budget shortfall. In January, the Yard Goats and the Eastern League announced that all of the team’s home games would be played on the road through May 8, only for that date to be pushed back to May 31.
Officials attributed the latest progress to a 37% increase in work hours from January to February, and plan to continue that trend. In the meantime, the Yard Goats are proceeding with a few key steps to prepare for the opener, including a job fair for game day employees at the end of this month.
Image of Dunkin’ Donuts Park from Feb. 29 courtesy Hartford Yard Goats.