Finally an opening date set for Dunkin’ Donuts Park

The new stadium of the new Hartford Yard Goats, will open later than planned. A lot later. But at least the city of Hartford and the contractor have picked an opening date: May 31.

Dunkin' Donuts Stadium
Money pit Dunkin’ Donuts Park (photo: Hartford Courant)

A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that the stadium would open later than the planned April 7. But when was still up in the sky. Next to the insecurity of the opening date there was this $10.3 million funding shortage, which Hartford blamed the contractor for and the contractor Dono Hartford LLC blamed the city of Hartford for.

Now all three parties (Dono Hartford LLC, the city of Hartford and the Yard Goats) have agreed on a plan to close the funding gap. From the Hartford Courant: “Under the agreement, the developer, Centerplan Cos. affiliate DoNo Hartford LLC, would give up $2.3 million in fees. In addition, it would make additional annual tax payments of $225,000 on the entire Downtown North development, a mixed-use project that includes the stadium. The higher tax payments would extend over 25 years. The Yard Goats would contribute $2 million and give up $500,000 that the city would have paid for designated team parking. The city would initially shoulder $5.5 million from bonds issued by the Hartford Stadium Authority. But the additional tax payments from DoNo Hartford would reduce the city’s share of the costs to about $3.5 million. City council approval is still required because it had signed off on the original stadium development agreements.”

Despite the fact that the three parties has come together in this new deal, there is still a catch. The city council of Hartford has to approve the deal.

Next to losing $500,000, the Yard Goats will also lose revenue because next to the scheduled “home” games on the road (17), there will be an additional number of “home” games played on the road. So in total the team will be on the road for 52 games in a row.

According to the deal, the stadium must be ready for the biggest part on May 17, so the club will have enough time to make the ballpark ready for the grand opening. The deal also contains that if May 17 is not met, the city can replace Centerplan  (the parent company of Dono Hartford LLC) as the contractor and start collecting damages of $50,000 for the first day and  $15,000 a day thereafter, according to the agreement. This would also mean that the Yard Goats don’t have to give up the $500,000 and don’t have to contribute $2 million.

What will happen to the season tickets holders? Will they get a refund for the games that they cannot attend? Anyhow, it is good that a date has been set, so the fans can look forward to opening day at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

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