Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra backed away from plans Friday to have Hartford taxpayers build a $60 million minor league baseball stadium for the Rock Cats.
In this letter to the Hartford City Council, Segarra said he withdrew those plans and is soliciting new concepts for the area. Under the new proposal, the stadium would still remain the catalyst for redevelopment, but it calls for the stadium to be financed through a public-private partnership.
“We are committed to pay for the costs associated with the ballpark construction with private investment and revenues generated by the redevelopment of the entire Downtown North area,” Segarra said in a statement. “This approach is consistent with feedback from the community, City Council, and other stakeholders.”
In a press release, Segarra maintained that his goal was always the complete redevelopment of an area known as Downtown North.
“What was needed was a spark, a catalyst to drive further interest and development, and we believed the ballpark would be that spark,” Segarra said.
In his letter to the council, Segarra said, “The partnership will create a mixed-use development in Downtown North to include, housing, retail, and commercial space, including a supermarket, open space, parking, and a minor league baseball facility.”
Earlier this month, Segarra defended the stadium proposal at a Hartford Public Library forum where most of the public spoke against the proposal.
At that forum, Hartford Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings said that she and her fellow councilors would refuse to pass the proposal if certain guidelines regarding employment and taxation were not met.
“This council is committed to this stadium only if Hartford residents don’t have a tax increase because of this, if Hartford jobs are identified for Hartford residents, and if Hartford businesses get the business that’s coming to them,” Jennings said.
The new proposals are due by Aug. 1.
Segarra said he would review them and present them to the City Council by Aug. 11.
Under the original plans, the city was expected to have the stadium built by April 1, 2016 — the start of the baseball season.
Hartford officials have said that the construction of the stadium would create the equivalent of 665 full-time jobs and more than 900 construction jobs, and also generate 23,700 hotel room stays annually.
But there are several reports disputing the credibility of the assumptions used in order to compile those estimates.
Click here to read a report from WNPR on the stadium math and why a lot of people would have to start attending games in order to make it work.