It increasingly appears the Colorado Rockies' new Double-A affiliate, the Hartford Yard Goats, will spend the first 52 games of their inaugural season on the road, according to a report Thursday by the Hartford Courant. The report indicates the club's new stadium, Dunkin' Donuts Park, won't be ready for baseball until May 31.
Previously, we reported that the Yard Goats were planning on spending their first 34 games on the road, with a rough date of May 12 for their home opener. Now, because of repeated construction issues, that date has been moved back nearly three more weeks.
To make that May 31 date, an agreement between the city of Hartford and DoNo Hartford, LLC—the ballpark's developer—has been reached, and the $10.4 million funding gap appears to be closed with additional money put forth by the developer. The city of Hartford will contribute $5.5 million from bonds issued by the Hartford Stadium Authority to help close the gap, as well.
Additionally, the Yard Goats themselves are kicking in roughly $2 million to help finish their ballpark, while also giving up about $500,000 that the city was planning on paying for designated team parking.
Hartford mayor Luke Bronin seems to see the agreement as a bittersweet achievement, telling the Courant:
I came into office 20 days ago and we inherited a mess here, and we worked very quickly to bring all parties to the table and find a resolution that would get this back on track and protect the taxpayers. Nobody wanted to put additional taxpayer funding into this deal, but we have to play the hand that we were dealt. Given the situation that we're in, I think it was our responsibility to protect both the short- and long-term interest of the taxpayers and the best way to do that is to get this project back on track and to limit taxpayer exposure.
The Hartford City Council will vote on the agreement Monday, with a public hearing also set to be held for the city's citizens to weigh in on the deal.
Assuming the council can get it passed, though, it appears there is finally a resolution to the Yard Goats' stadium woes—it's just taking several months longer than anyone would have liked.
We'll keep you up to date on more news relating to the Yard Goats' ballpark and everything else, as more information becomes available.