By: Jason Newton, WTNH Reporter
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The ballpark is almost complete but at this point the Hartford Yard Goats have already missed more than half of their home games this season. Now the entire home season could be in jeopardy, along with 300 jobs for people who would work inside the stadium.
As workers scrambled in the heat Thursday to put finishing touches on Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford, across town frustrated members of the Hartford Stadium Authority were meeting. They agreed to take drastic measures on the project, which has been plagued with costs overruns and multiple missed deadlines.
“Today we still have not received a revised schedule we can believe in,” said Hartford Stadium Authority President I. Charles Mathews. “Still have not received a budget we can believe in.”
The Authority voted unanimously on a procedure to call the payment and performance bond on the development team. Which basically means the project guarantor will now investigate to see if the developer — DoNo Hartford LLC — can complete the job, or if a new company should step in.
“It’s our duty to make sure we protect the interests of taxpayers,” Matthews said.
“I wish we weren’t in this situation,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “But the bottom line is we have to hold our development partners accountable for meeting their obligations.”
During a stadium tour Thursday, the manager for DoNo blamed construction delays on the city. He cited six construction change directives in the last month alone requested by the city.
“There have been multiple changes issued from Hartford by directive for us to change aspects of the design of the ballpark,” said Jason Rudnick, DoNo Hartford LLC manager.
He said the ballpark is 95 percent complete and pledged to work diligently until it’s time to play ball.
“Look around you. Does this look like incomplete?” Rudnick asked reporters Thursday. “Does this look like it can’t be finished?”
City leaders and developers will meet Tuesday with the surety bond guarantor to discuss what’s next; if a new developer will come in, which would halt construction. Or if the same company is granted permission to finish.