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Hartford’s Downtown North ballpark may not be completed on time or on budget

HARTFORD — After reports of overspending and rumors that the ballpark had been delayed, the Hartford Stadium Authority is now confirming that the new home...
yard goats stadium

HARTFORD — After reports of overspending and rumors that the ballpark had been delayed, the Hartford Stadium Authority is now confirming that the new home of the Yard Goats may not be ready in time for opening day, and that the budget is being significantly overrun.

“Our agreement with DoNo Hartford LLC is for a $56 million ballpark with a substantial completion date of March 11 and ready for opening day on April 7, 2016,” Charles Matthews, the chairperson of the Hartford Stadium Authority, said in a statement. “DoNo Hartford LLC has informed us that the ballpark may not be ready until late spring and that there is a $10 million shortfall.”

The Yard Goats’ opening day is scheduled for April 7, when the new team will face the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

On September 1, Mayor Pedro Segarra said the Downtown North project, and specifically the Dunkin’ Donuts Park, was on budget with no major changes to the original plans.

However, the Hartford Courant reported in early October that the right field grandstand roof would be eliminated from the plans so that the $305,000 it would cost could be used elsewhere. The Courant reported that the decision was part of a need to cut down $4 million in overruns on the $56 million budget.

The Courant also reported in October that rerouting Trumbull Street, a major part of the road reconstruction for the project, was running about $2 million more than scheduled. At the time, it was also reported that in order to meet the spring deadline more money was needed and an aggressive work schedule would be necessary.

Matthews says that he Stadium Authority is still determining the ramifications of the delays.

“We have asked DoNo Hartford LLC for written clarification and assurances relative to their ability to meet their contractual obligations and expect a response by 1 p.m. December 23,” he said.

Matthews also said he is working with DoNo Hartford to ensure that the stadium doesn’t cost anything more for the city of Hartford.

DoNo Hartford released a statement to FOX 61 Monday night, shortly after Matthews’ statement for the Hartford Stadium Authority was published. The DoNo statement included a brief outline of what the company claims has transpired between the company and the city over the past year, and explains why the project is over budget and delayed.

A key point that DoNo makes is that the company was initially under the impression that it would have complete control over the design, which it began working on after delivering the contract for the $56 million stadium on February 4, 2015. However, DoNo says that on March 23 the city sent completed drawings and blueprints for the stadium to DoNo, which differed from the company’s initial plans.

DoNo says that the city then released its official contract to the company on June 10, which was four months late and therefore delayed work. It also did not match DoNo’s plans, and stated that DoNo’s “only authority to manage the [city’s designated] architect going forward was to oversee construction administration through the completion of work.”

DoNo says it submitted 160 proposals to reduce costs and change the scope of the project that the city submitted, but only 40 were accepted, meaning the project would cost “well in excess of the original $56 million.”

In an effort to respond to the city’s request for an update, DoNo outlined how it would address the issues it says have been created:

DoNo Hartford LLC intends to submit change orders this week which, when authorized, will make the appropriate funds available to complete the building as designed. DoNo Hartford LLC will additionally provide an outside date for this authorization of funds to occur without impacting schedule.

DoNo Hartford LLC intends to complete the ballpark on or about the original schedule. If additional funds are made available per the change orders referenced above, the Ballpark will be completed in accordance with its design. If the funds are not available within the prescribed timeframe, DoNo Hartford LLC plans to complete as much as possible, making the Ballpark available to play baseball on or about the intended delivery date.

The proposal to be submitted on December 23, 2015 will specify what work will likely remain incomplete until funds are approved. In either case, DoNo Hartford LLC is fully committed to fulfill its obligations and deliver a Ballpark for all to enjoy on our about the intended delivery date.

The ballpark is part of a $350 million development of all of Downtown North, which will include new apartments, shopping, restaurants and other amenities.

Here’s a photo of the construction taken on Monday: