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Hartford Projects Losses for Early Years of Ballpark


The City of Hartford is likely to incur significant losses during the early years of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, according to the latest projections. 

Officials have been presented with the latest financial forecast, which hows that during the first two seasons the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) play at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the city will be faced with significant losses. That includes a projected loss of about $2 million for 2017, followed by a figure of $3.5 million in 2018.

The city will have several costs to account for, including a $2.7 million payment on the ballpark this year–as well as expenses such as public safety and traffic control–and is expected to receive $887,467 from sources such as parking, a portion of the naming rights, ticket tax, and the Yard Goats’ rent. One of the pressing issues that is shaping the city’s financial outlook is the surrounding area, as Hartford had hoped that portions of the proposed Downtown North development would be taking shape over the next few years. However, with some of those plans stalled, officials cannot count on certain tax revenue resources that were once expected. More from The Hartford Courant:

In 2018, the city’s payment on the stadium and its public safety costs combined will reach nearly $5 million, while it is only expected to draw about $1.5 million in revenue. City officials only released estimates for the first two years of the park’s operation.

Some of the projections have changed over time. Previous city leadership had said the admissions tax would draw $426,000 per year, for example, while the most recent calculations show it would bring in $105,000 this year and $294,000 next year. The current year is lower because the fiscal year, which began in July, is more than half over.

Part of the problem is that the development around Dunkin’ Donuts Park has also stalled. Tax revenue from those parcels was supposed to help Hartford make its payments on the stadium. Even in those earlier projections, the city expected to lose money in the early years and make it back as the surrounding Downtown North projects were built — but now those tax-generating projects are nowhere in sight.

“I always had big questions and big concerns about what the prior administration had sold as the development that they would get done in the time frame they would get it done in the lots immediately surrounding the stadium,” Mayor Luke Bronin said recently. “That said, while I didn’t support the stadium and don’t think that the numbers ever worked, to me, the way to make the best of it was to use it as an anchor.”

After encountering delays that prevented it from opening last year, Dunkin’ Donuts Park is on track to be completed for the opening of the 2017 season. The Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) first game at the ballpark is scheduled for April 13.

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