Hartford State Senator: Baseball Stadium Deal a ‘Fiasco’ for City Taxpayers

A Hartford Democratic state senator who opposed the construction of a baseball stadium back when it was first proposed says his view that the deal was a fiasco from the start has been reinforced by the troubles the construction project has run into with cost overruns and missed construction deadlines.

Back in May of last year as Democratic state Sen. Eric Coleman was facing a primary challenge, he was strongly against the stadium project in general and any taxpayer funding of it in specific. That put him at odds with the other Democratic state senator, John Fonfara. Fonfara was pushing a pill that would have state taxpayer money diverted to the stadium project. The bill eventually failed.

Fast forward to this week: the developers of Dunkin Donuts Park have missed a major deadline, are in breach of contract with the city of Hartford and are more than $10 million over budget. The city has acted, demanding the $50,000 penalty due for missing the May 17 deadline and $15,000 a day the stadium is not ready thereafter.

Sen. Coleman says while he doesn’t see anything productive coming from his continued objections, the current situation is exactly what he feared. “I thought from the beginning this would be a fiasco that would be costly to the already-strapped city of Hartford. What’s happening now just reinforces that view,” Coleman tells The Hanging Shad. “I couldn’t understand why the deal was so favorable to the team.”

State Sen. Eric Coleman (D-Hartford)
State Sen. Eric Coleman (D-Bloomfield/Hartford)

Indeed, others have as well. The developer that now has to come up with the scratch to cover the missed deadlines and penalties is DoNo, LLC which is in reality Centerplan, a Middletown-based company headed by former state Rep. Bob Landino.

Landino knows his way around publicly financed construction projects. But in the General Assembly, he opposed some high-profile and expensive projects because he didn’t think taxpayers should be on the hook. He opposed the New England Patriots stadium deal in the late ‘90s and was also against the Adriaen’s Landing project for the same reasons. “I guess he’s against them unless he gets the contract,” Coleman said.

dunkin do park rednering

So the Yard Goats are playing their “home” games in Norwich’s Dodd Stadium, the regular home of the Single A Connecticut Tigers. The Dunk won’t be open for the Yards Goats to play in until after June 16th, a full 12 weeks into the Eastern League season.